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Lombard Park Dist. v. Chicago Title & Trust Co.

FEBRUARY 5, 1969.

LOMBARD PARK DISTRICT, A MUNICIPAL CORPORATION, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,

v.

CHICAGO TITLE AND TRUST COMPANY, NOT INDIVIDUALLY BUT AS TRUSTEE UNDER TRUST AGREEMENT KNOWN AS TRUST NO. 36988, MAYWOOD-PROVISO STATE BANK, NOT INDIVIDUALLY BUT AS TRUSTEE UNDER TRUST AGREEMENT KNOWN AS TRUST NO. 1604, ELMHURST NATIONAL BANK, NOT INDIVIDUALLY BUT AS TRUSTEE UNDER TRUST AGREEMENTS KNOWN AS TRUSTS NUMBERED 634, 1983, 1985 AND 1900, LAWRENCE A. BRITTON, ET AL., UNKNOWN BENEFICIARIES OF CHICAGO TITLE AND TRUST COMPANY, TRUST NO. 36988, UNKNOWN BENEFICIARIES OF MAYWOOD-PROVISO STATE BANK, TRUST NO. 1604, UNKNOWN BENEFICIARIES OF ELMHURST NATIONAL BANK, TRUST NO. 634, TRUST NO. 1983, TRUST NO. 1985, TRUST NO. 1900, AND UNKNOWN OWNERS, DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of DuPage County, County Division; the Hon. WILLIAM GUILD, Judge, presiding. Reversed and remanded.

MR. JUSTICE SEIDENFELD DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT.

Rehearing denied March 24, 1969.

Defendants appeal from a judgment of condemnation as to four contiguous parcels of land located within the Village of Lombard, entered after jury verdicts. The petition to condemn included two additional contiguous parcels, as to which the trial court set aside the jury verdicts and granted a new trial on the ground that certain evidence should have been admitted, but the post-trial motion was denied as to the parcels included in this appeal. The subject of the granting of a new trial as to the remaining parcels is included in a separate appeal pending before this court.

The judgment in this case confirmed jury verdicts in the amount of $87,500 for parcel 1, $6,000 for parcel 3, $2,000 for parcel 5, and $3,500 for parcel 6. Issues raised by the appeal are whether the court erred (1) in failing to strike the testimony of a valuation witness on the basis of whether his calculations included all of the land sought to be taken; (2) in admitting a certain geological survey hydrologic investigations map of "Floods in Lombard Quadrangle Illinois" and (3) in allowing the testimony of the village engineer of Lombard defining a "floodplain area" under a village ordinance.

There was a jury view. The subject parcels are zoned R-1 Single-Family Residence District requiring a lot area of a minimum of 10,000 square feet and a lot width of a minimum of 75 feet. The parcels are generally surrounded by property presently being developed as an R-2 Single-Family Residence District. The zoning ordinance provides that the minimum lot area requirement in the R-2 District is 7,500 square feet and the minimum lot width is 60 feet.

There was conflicting evidence as to soil conditions based on engineering borings. The soil conditions of the various parcels range from soil which has poor weight bearing qualities to soil which has adequate weight bearing qualities for single-family construction, with the dispute existing as to the amount of land in the parcels having the various qualities.

The maximum values placed on the subject parcels by the plaintiff's witnesses were $62,000 for parcel 1, $2,400 for parcel 3, $2,400 for parcel 5 and $2,000 for parcel 6. The minimum values placed on the subject parcels by the defendants' witnesses were $131,000 for parcel 1, $4,000 for parcel 3, $2,000 for parcel 5 and $3,000 for parcel 6. The testimony of Thomas Collins, the valuation witness for the plaintiff, which is objected to by the defendants with reference to parcel 1, was $62,000.

During Mr. Collins' testimony as to the value of parcel 1, he referred to an exhibit (No. 19) which purported to be an outline of parcel 1. He had himself prepared this exhibit the night before as a visual aid to illustrate his opinion. He testified that the exhibit was prepared from a description given to him by a park district official. On cross-examination Collins discovered and admitted that he could have and, in fact, did err in his outline of parcel 1 on the exhibit. He failed to include block no. 1 in his outline while in reality all of block no. 1 except for the south 150 feet was part of parcel 1 in the description of the property sought. On cross-examination Collins said that his valuation estimate was derived from the property shown on the map. He was asked if he made the map from the description the city official had given him and his reply was: "That is correct unless I have erred in the map and I would have to refer to my file, but I am sure that's the property I had in consideration." On redirect examination, after the mistake had been discovered, counsel for the plaintiff asked Mr. Collins to amend the map to include the proper property and then asked him if his appraisal was on the entire property and Collins responded that his appraisal included the portion he had omitted on the map.

While defendants argue that the court erred in failing to strike Collins' testimony, at least as to parcel 1, for the reason that he did not calculate the value on the entire parcel, we do not agree.

Collins' error in preparing the map could properly be considered by the jury in weighing the competence of his expert testimony as the weight and credibility of testimony of expert witnesses is for the jury to determine on consideration of all of the factors on which his opinion was based.

The map, however, was simply an illustrative aid to the testimony Mr. Collins was giving. The map was not evidence in itself and once the error had been called to the attention of the jury and Collins had established that the error had not affected his opinion as to the value of the property, but rather that his valuation was based on the correct description of the parcel, the jury was not misled or confused by the mistake. The weight to be given the testimony was properly a matter for the determination of the jury. Department of Public Works v. Finks, 10 Ill.2d 15, 19, 139 N.E.2d 267 (1956).

It should also be noted that the testimony of Mr. Sutte for the plaintiff placed a value on parcel 1 of $62,000. The jury verdict of $87,500 for parcel 1 was well above the value put in evidence by the plaintiff even without reliance on the testimony of Collins, so that the jury verdict was within the range of testimony.

We next consider the claim that it was error to introduce the United States Geological Survey as evidence. Defendants argue that the map is impermissible hearsay, while plaintiff argues that it is an official public document properly authenticated and not based upon opinion or ...


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