Lowball Watch – Pennsylvania

A recent opinion of the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court informs us that in the case of Condemnation of Property Located in Lower Windsor Township, 986 A.2d 190 (Pa.Cmwlth. 2009), the county took Lauxmont Holdings’ land and deposited $2,000,000. After the Board of Viewers awarded $10,500,000, the county said “Oops,” got a new lawyer and new appraisers who came up with a range of values of $7,500,000 to $7,950,000. The matter then went to court where the jury awarded $17,250,000, which the county did not contest on appeal.

According to our calculator, that award comes to over eight times the original county offer.

Now get this. Though the county’s new counsel concluded that the original deposit was “gross undercompensation,” the judges on the appellate court, delicate souls that they are, characterized it as “an inaccurate appraisal.” Reminds us of the time in high school when a kid was asked to provide a synonym for “incapacitated, ” and he came up with “decapitated.”

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