Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Luzerne County in the case of Richard P. Becker and Margaret H. Becker, his wife v. Redevelopment Authority of Luzerne County, Pa., No. 1371 of 1975.
Richard P. Becker and Margaret P. Becker, appellants, for themselves.
Malcolm M. Limongelli, for appellee.
Judges Rogers, Blatt and Williams, Jr., sitting as a panel of three. This decision was reached prior to the resignation of Judge Mencer. Judge Palladino did not participate in the decision in this case.
[ 66 Pa. Commw. Page 295]
This appeal involves the condemnation of a two-story frame building held by the appellants, Richard P. and Margaret P. Becker, for investment purposes, all four of its apartments being leased to third party tenants at the time of condemnation.
[ 66 Pa. Commw. Page 296]
At a trial on an appeal from the award of a board of viewers in the Court of Common Pleas of Luzerne County on January 27, 1976, a jury entered a verdict for the appellants in the amount of $25,500.00 general damages to compensate them for the fair market value of their property which was condemned. The parties stipulated at this trial that the question of whether or not the appellants were entitled to dislocation damages under Section 601-A(b)(3) of the Eminent Domain Code*fn1 was to be left to the trial judge, and he decided to award an additional $6,500.00 to the appellants. On February 2, 1976, the appellee Redevelopment Authority of Luzerne County (Authority), requested that the court below grant it a new trial in order to challenge only*fn2 the award of $6,500.00 to the appellants for dislocation damages, arguing that the court erred as a matter of law. This motion was granted in an order docketed on February 2, 1976, and the Authority subsequently lodged it with the prothonotary of the court below on March 23, 1978*fn3 in order to set a date for trial.
The court below, believing that the granting of a new trial would serve no purpose other than to further
[ 66 Pa. Commw. Page 297]
delay this already protracted proceeding, rendered a decision*fn4 on December 19, 1980, allowing the general damages but setting aside the trial judge's dislocation damage award of $6,500.00 to the appellants on the basis of our Supreme Court's decision in Redevelopment Authority of Allegheny County v. Stepanik, 479 Pa. 199, 387 A.2d 1292 (1978).
From what we are able to glean from the appellants' brief, they argue here that the court below committed an error of law in denying them dislocation damages, that the Authority failed to timely file its motion for a new trial, that the court below, therefore, entertained an "invalid appeal" or abused its discretion in allowing the new trial, and that the record file of this case was tampered with.
Concerning the appellants' first contention, our Supreme Court in Stepanik, has stated that the legislature did not intend that a condemnee who owned, but did not occupy, a residential apartment building and who rented that apartment to others for living space, should receive special ...