Appeal from the order of the Court of Common Pleas of Lackawanna County in case of Scranton Penn Furniture Company v. City of Scranton, No. 80 Civil 5688.
W. Boyd Hughes, Hughes, Nicholls & Lucas, for appellant.
Albert B. Mackarey, Assistant City Solicitor, for appellee.
Judges Doyle and Palladino, and Senior Judge Barbieri, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Senior Judge Barbieri. Judge Palladino dissents. Judge Barry did not participate in the decision in this case.
Scranton Penn Furniture Company (Scranton Penn) appeals the order of the Court of Common Pleas of Lackawanna County denying its motion for a new trial.
The City of Scranton (City) condemned a portion of Scranton Penn's property in 1981 for an extension of a street. The condemned portion consisted of a one story loading dock connected to Scranton Penn's main building and the land upon which it was erected. A Board of View found damages in the amount of $19,500 and both Scranton Penn and the City appealed.
A jury trial was held and Scranton Penn's owner, Mr. Jaffe, testified that his damages were $100,000. Scranton Penn's valuation expert, Mr. Goodman, testified, however, that the damages amounted to $70,910. Both Mr. Jaffee and Mr. Goodman based their estimates on the value of the entire property before the condemnation as unaffected thereby and the value of the property after the condemnation as affected thereby.
The valuation expert for the City, Mrs. Erhard, testified that the value of the land and the building taken was $7,500. She did not testify as to the "before" and "after" values of the entire property. Upon the conclusion of Mrs. Erhard's testimony, Scranton Penn moved to strike all of her testimony due to her failure to testify according to the "unit rule."*fn1 The trial court denied this motion, ruling, without elaboration, that Mrs. Erhard's testimony had "some evidentiary value";*fn2 however, the court also acknowledged
that the instructions to the jury would have to include a statement as to the proper measure of damages, i.e., the ...