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MATTER CONDEMNATION BY INDIANA TOWNSHIP CERTAIN PROPERTY LOCATED INDIANA TOWNSHIP (07/01/87)

decided: July 1, 1987.

IN THE MATTER OF: CONDEMNATION BY INDIANA TOWNSHIP OF CERTAIN PROPERTY LOCATED IN INDIANA TOWNSHIP, ALLEGHENY COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA, BEING PROPERTY NOW OR FORMERLY OWNED BY: JOHN COOK, EDWIN D. SHAFFER AND OSCAR A. MASCI, OR ANY OTHER PERSONS FOUND TO HAVE AN INTEREST IN THE PROPERTY. JOHN COOK, EDWIN D. SHAFFER AND OSCAR A. MASCI, APPELLANTS


Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, in case of John Cook, Edwin D. Shaffer and Oscar A. Masci, or any other persons found to have an interest in the property v. Indiana Township, NO. GD 83-20454.

COUNSEL

John G. Arch, for appellants.

Ira Weiss, Gross and Weiss, for appellee.

Judges MacPhail and Doyle, and Senior Judge Narick, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Senior Judge Narick.

Author: Narick

[ 107 Pa. Commw. Page 208]

This is an appeal from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County which granted a new trial to Indiana Township (Township). Appellants are John Cook, Edwin D. Shaffer and Oscar Masci. We affirm.

[ 107 Pa. Commw. Page 209]

The Township condemned certain property owned by Appellants. The property had previously been owned by the Fox Chapel School District which declared it surplus. Sealed bids were accepted and Appellants were the successful bidders, offering a bid price of $35,000. Approximately one year later, the Township condemned a portion of Appellants' property for use as a public park and paid estimated just compensation of $20,800 to Appellants.

Both parties offered the testimony of an expert real estate appraiser. Appellants' expert, Patrick A. McGrath, Jr. (McGrath), testified that the before value of the property was $120,000, and that the after value of the property was $42,000, making the damages $78,000. The Township's expert, William Yoder (Yoder), testified that the before value of the property was $35,000 and that the after value of the property was $14,000, making the damages $21,000. The jury rendered a verdict in the amount of $60,000 and the trial court molded this verdict to reflect the estimated just compensation previously paid to Appellants, and delay damages. The molded verdict was for $39,200 with delay damages being assessed at a 6% rate of interest from December 29, 1982 to the date of payment.

Shortly thereafter, the Township filed a motion for new trial based on the fact that evidence discovered after trial revealed that McGrath, Appellants' expert witness, was not a licensed broker, and thus had deliberately perjured himself at trial by testifying that he was a licensed broker and had been a licensed broker since April of 1954.

Our scope of review regarding the trial court's grant of a new trial on the basis of after-discovered evidence is whether the court committed an abuse of discretion or an error of law which controlled the outcome of the case. Commonwealth ex rel. Meyers v. Stern, 509 Pa. 260,

[ 107 Pa. Commw. Page 210501]

A.2d 1380 (1985). In conducting this review, there is a presumption that the trial court was justified in granting the new trial. Bellettiere v. City of ...


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