Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

City of Chicago v. Baird

MARCH 17, 1971.




APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. EDWARD F. HEALY, Judge, presiding.


Rehearing denied April 14, 1971.

This is an appeal by defendant, Edward P. Birmingham, from a verdict and judgment entered in the Circuit Court of Cook County following a trial in a proceeding in eminent domain. The property in question, located at 4250 West Jackson Boulevard in the City of Chicago, is a brick two-flat, purchased by the defendant in 1911, and consists of a 5-room apartment on the first floor and a 6-room apartment on the second floor and a 2-car brick garage. The lot is 25 feet by 121 feet. The defendant resided in the first apartment from 1911 until November, 1966, and continuously rented the second apartment. The jury returned a verdict in the sum of $14,500, and judgment was entered thereon. The sole question raised on appeal is that the jury was influenced in its verdict by prejudice and passion.

This property was one of twelve parcels joined in a petition to condemn filed June 20, 1968. The trial on this parcel began July 14, 1969. After the jury was impaneled, it traveled to the premises in question and viewed the property. At the beginning of the trial, the judge explained the case to the prospective jurors and introduced counsel for both sides. He referred to counsel for the School Board as "Judge Righeimer" and said that Judge Righeimer had at one time been a County Judge in Cook County, and his assistant in the trial of the case was Mr. Girard.

The petitioner called two real estate dealers who operated in the neighborhood, Donald D. Clark and Lawrence J. Laurion, who testified respectively that the valuation of the subject property was $14,500 and $14,000. They also testified to sales of comparable property within a block of the subject property for less than the amounts of their appraisals of the subject property and fully described the property in question, the area in which it was located, and matters pertaining to the market value thereof as of the time of the filing of the petition to condemn.

The defendant called William T. Walsh, a real estate man, with offices on Madison Street and North Avenue. In his opinion, the value of the property as of June 20, 1968, was $23,000.

The defendant complains on this appeal that the jury was influenced in its verdict by prejudice and passion in the following manner: First, that the trial judge should not have referred to counsel for the petitioner as Judge Righeimer; second, that testimony by the witness, Clark, in describing the area in which the subject property was situated, stated that seven years earlier "the area experienced a racial change." He also stated, "It was considered a good neighborhood some years ago, but in recent years it has changed considerably, with property selling at low down payments." These statements were objected to by counsel for defendant and the objections overruled by the court. Mr. Clark also stated that the "riots of April, 1968 have definitely affected the shopping center" at Pulaski and Madison. Mr. Clark, after stating that he had appraised fourteen or fifteen parcels on Jackson Boulevard for the Board of Education, was asked by the attorney for the petitioner, "And the other ones were disposed of, is that correct?", and answered, "As I understand, the others were all settled." No objection was made by the attorney for the defendant either to the question or the answer.

The second witness for petitioner was Lawrence J. Laurion, who had a real estate office for forty-four years on West Madison Street, three blocks from the condemned property for ten years and later at 5943 West Madison Street. He testified that values of real estate fell when mortgage financing of property in the area could not be obtained because lending institutions and banks would not make mortgages there, and insurance could be obtained by pulling a string here and there but it was getting to the point where no one could get insurance on buildings in the area unless it was written by a governmental agency, and that premiums paid for fire insurance on property there are three times the regular rate. He said the difficulty in getting insurance was due to the fact that "we had a big fire there, if you remember, a year ago, and ever since that time, there has been nothing but trouble to get fire insurance." No objection was made by the attorney for the defendant to any of this testimony.

Defendant's witness, William T. Walsh, testified he was in the real estate business for fourteen years, with an office on Madison Street about a mile and a quarter from the subject property. He stated he was familiar with the area where the subject property was located, and he examined the subject property. In his opinion, the fair cash market value was $23,000 as of June 20, 1968.

• 1, 2 We first consider the introduction by the trial judge of the attorney for the School Board as "Judge Righeimer." It is a fact that Judge Righeimer was County Judge of Cook County many years ago, and it was not error for the trial judge to identify him as one and the same. No objection was made on trial or in the post-trial motion, and it cannot be raised for the first time on review. City of Chicago v. Giedraitis (1958), 14 Ill.2d 45, and County of Cook v. Holland (1954), 3 Ill.2d 36, 47, where the court said:

"[H]e cannot now on appeal raise for the first time objections to remarks of the trial judge to which no exceptions are taken at the time (Union Drainage Dist. v. Hamilton, 390 Ill. 487.)"

• 3 As to the testimony of the experts, Clark and Laurion, there can be no question that they were well-qualified, and their statements to the effect the area had experienced a racial change and as to the riots in April, 1968, were matters of common knowledge. They had a right to take these matters into consideration in giving their opinion as to values. In C. & E.R.R. Co. v. Blake (1886), 116 Ill. 163, the court said at page 167:

"The uses and capabilities of a particular property; the prices at which like property in the neighborhood is held or offered; knowledge or observation of the growth and development of towns and cities; a general knowledge of trade and business, and of the commercial advantages or prospects of the place where the property is situated, are all matters more or less taken into account by the intelligent witness in forming his opinion as to the value of a particular piece of property."

The defendant cites Bulleri v. Chicago Transit Authority (1963), 41 Ill. App.2d 95, to support his argument against riots and racial change. That case was reversed because counsel injected religious and political questions into his argument to the ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.