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CONDEMNATION COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (03/17/80)

decided: March 17, 1980.

IN RE: CONDEMNATION OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION ETC. FOSTER ADAM & FRANK EDWARD CAMP
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION. COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, APPELLANT



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Northumberland County in case of Foster Adam Camp and Frank Edward Camp v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Transportation, No. 41 December Term, 1974.

COUNSEL

Charles A. Buechel, Jr., Assistant Attorney General, with him Robert W. Cunliffe, Chief Counsel and Edward G. Biester, Jr., Attorney General, for appellant.

George J. Nagle, for appellees.

Judges Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer and Craig, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Craig. President Judge Bowman did not participate in the decision in this case.

Author: Craig

[ 50 Pa. Commw. Page 183]

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (condemnor) appeals from the order of the Court of Common Pleas of Northumberland County denying its motion for a new trial in connection with the condemnation of property in Mt. Carmel Township owned by appellees Foster Adam Camp and Frank Edward Camp.

[ 50 Pa. Commw. Page 184]

Condemnor alleges that the lower court erred in refusing to strike the testimony of condemnee Frank Camp as to reproduction cost valuation, because that testimony did not consider depreciation of the property, and also that the lower court erred in refusing condemnor's request for a jury view of the subject property.

We agree that the court below erred in not striking condemnee's reproduction cost testimony.

Section 704 of the Eminent Domain Code (Code), Act of June 22, 1964, Special Session, P.L. 84, as amended, 26 P.S. § 1-704, plainly entitles a condemnee to testify regarding just compensation; however, that testimony must be "on the same basis as a qualified expert in regard to valuation and the elements considered in arriving at his figure. Hoffman v. Commonwealth, 422 Pa. 144, 221 A.2d 826 (1966)." Cohen v. Redevelopment Authority of Philadelphia, 12 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 125, 130, 315 A.2d 372, 375 (1974).

In circumstances similar to this case, where a condemnor objected to a condemnee's reproduction valuation because it did not account for depreciation, this court said:

In overruling the Authority's objection the trial judge said that the appellee was not required to take depreciation into account. While this was an inaccurate statement of the law (Section 705(2)(iv) of the Code, 26 P.S. § 1-705(2)(iv); Faith United Presbyterian Church, supra [7 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 490, 298 A.2d 614 (1972)]), the trial judge committed no reversible error because, as the transcript shows, the appellee did in fact apply depreciation in his calculation. He so testified on both direct and cross-examination.

Redevelopment Authority of the City of Philadelphia v. Cohen, 31 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 173, 181, ...


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