Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, in case of Louise R. Pelullo v. The Redevelopment Authority of the City of Philadelphia, No. 2521 August Term, 1972.
Paul N. Sandler, with him, Leon Katz and Peter Galante, for Appellant.
Steven Waxman, with him, Bolger and Picker, for respondent.
Judges Wilkinson, Jr., DiSalle and MacPhail, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge DiSalle.
The Redevelopment Authority of the City of Philadelphia (Condemnor) appeals from a decision of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County granting a new trial to Louise R. Pelullo (Condemnee). In this condemnation proceeding, we are asked to determine whether the lower court abused its discretion in concluding that the jury's verdict was inadequate.
On August 22, 1972, property on which Condemnee conducted two businesses was condemned. Subsequent to a hearing, a Board of View (Board) awarded Condemnee $65,000.00 compensation for the taking of her real property.*fn1 The Condemnor appealed to the court of common pleas. During the trial, Condemnor offered to settle the real property claim for $55,000.00. Condemnee refused. At trial, Condemnee's expert witness fixed the fair market value of the real property at $97,000.00. The Condemnor's two experts
fixed the fair market value at $38,000.00 and $31,500.00. Both experts relied partially on comparable sales of property made prior to the date of the condemnation at issue.*fn2
At trial, Condemnee also sought an award of $10,000.00 damages for business dislocation pursuant to Section 601-A(b)(3) of the Eminent Domain Code (Code), Act of June 22, 1964, Special Sess., P.L. 84, as amended, added by the Act of December 29, 1971, P.L. 640, 26 P.S. § 1-601A(b)(3).*fn3 Most of the evidence tendered in support of this claim related to whether or not Condemnee suffered a "substantial loss" of "existing patronage." See Section 601A(b)(3)(i) of the Code, 26 P.S. § 1-601A(b)(3)(i), supra note 3.
Condemnee conducted two businesses on her condemned property, a construction business and a lumber and rug business. Condemnee successfully relocated
each business after purchasing two separate buildings approximately one block from the condemned property. Peter Pelullo, Condemnee's husband and co-owner of the businesses, testified that most customers were from the local area and that many were personally informed of the relocation of each business.*fn4 Tax returns submitted into evidence in relation to the construction business revealed that while overall business flagged somewhat during the transition phase (during which business was carried on at the condemned property), sales markedly increased in the first full year of operation at the new location when compared to sales ...