Appeal from the Orders of the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County in case of Dixon Ticonderoga Company v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Transportation, No. 12626 of 1968.
Martin Burman, Assistant Counsel, with him, Spencer A. Manthorpe, Chief Counsel, and Jay C. Waldman, General Counsel, for appellant.
Andrew J. Forbes, Cramp, D'Iorio, McConchie & Forbes, P.C., for appellee.
Judges Rogers, Doyle, and Senior Judge Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Blatt.
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Transportation (Department) appeals two orders of the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County, dated June 21, 1984. The first molded a $500,000 jury verdict rendered on March 9, 1984 in eminent domain by adding delay damages bringing the total verdict to $865,596 and directed entry of the verdict in favor of the Dixon Ticonderoga Company (Dixon) and against the Department. The second order assessed attorney's fees against the Department in the amount of $1,000 and further ordered the Department to pay to Dixon's counsel an additional $1,000 per day from June 21, 1984 until the verdict rendered on March 9, 1984 has been paid.
This case arises from a condemnation by the Department's predecessor, the Pennsylvania Department of Highways, commenced in 1968. Following a
remand from this Court,*fn1 a second jury trial was held in March 1984, resulting in the above-noted verdict in favor of Dixon. When, by June 20, 1984, the Department had not satisfied the verdict,*fn2 Dixon filed a petition to establish October 2, 1968, the date of the condemnation, as the date from which interest (delay compensation) would be calculated and to award additional attorney's fees and penalties. After hearing argument from the parties on June 21, 1984, but without taking evidence, the trial court entered the orders at issue here.*fn3
On appeal, the Department raises three major questions for our determination: 1) whether or not delay compensation accrues, per se, from the date of the condemnation under Section 611 of the Eminent Domain Code (Code);*fn4 2) whether or not a court may award interest on delay compensation and 3) whether or not attorney's fees under Section 610 of the Code*fn5 may exceed $500. We will address these issues in the order presented consistent with our scope of review in eminent domain cases.*fn6
Section 611 of the Code pertinently ...