Douglas J. Smillie and Maraleen D. Shields secured another win for the City of Allentown. Nearly three years after an eminent domain action was filed, the Commonwealth Court agreed with the original arguments the duo advanced on behalf of the City and dismissed the appeal by Somera Road – 835 West Hamilton Street, LLC. The Court first held that Somera Road, which purchased the property at Sheriff’s sale, lacked standing to continue pursuing this de facto taking action. The Court went on to add that, even if the appellant had standing, the petition failed to state a claim for a de facto taking under Pennsylvania’s eminent domain code. The City consistently maintained that it took no action to harm the interests of either the building’s prior or current owners. The Morning Call recently reported on the decision.
Mr. Smillie is the Chair of the Firm’s Litigation & Trial Practice Group whose practice includes commercial litigation and trials, bankruptcy and creditors rights, shareholder disputes and business litigation, non-competition and trade secrets, media law and employment litigation. He’s had several recent high-profile wins, including the Somera Road case and the Express-Times/LehighValleyLIve.com School Bus case.
Ms. Shields is a Shareholder in the Firm’s Litigation & Trial Practice and Healthcare Groups. As a member of the Firm’s Litigation & Trial Practice Group, she has handled a wide array of matters including healthcare business disputes, municipal liability, class action litigation, personal injury matters, contract disputes and general complex litigation. She handles all phases of litigation and appellate practice. Ms. Shields was recently named to the PBA’s Joint Task Force On Continuity Of Delivery Of Legal Services.
Of note, due to the current restrictions arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, oral argument on the appeal was conducted remotely, using video conferencing technology.