Martin v. Creasy

LOCATION: Union Station

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1958-1962)

CITATION: 360 US 219 (1959)
ARGUED: Apr 02, 1959
DECIDED: Jun 08, 1959

Facts of the case


Media for Martin v. Creasy

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - April 02, 1959 in Martin v. Creasy

Earl Warren:

No. 157, Mark Dave Martin successor to Luis M. Steven, the Secretary of Highways of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, et al Appellants versus JK Creasy et al.

Ms. Alpern, you may proceed.

Anne X. Alpern:

Mr. Chief Justice, members of the Court.

This case represents a very unusual departure by a three-judge court, on the question of the right of the Commonwealth, in this the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, to proceed with a limited highway access statute.

The gravamen of the court's decision is predicated upon the theory that there were here involved an irreparable harm which could only be satisfied by enjoining the Governor of the state and the Secretary of Highways from placing into effect the Limited Access Highway Act of 1945 and from interfering in any way from the ingress and egress of certain properties that were established upon the highway.

It is a very primary case because it has tremendous impact on limited access highway throughout the country and we believe that the decision is not justified under the controlling law of the case.

In order to establish the basis of our position, I would like to review for the Court, the facts of -- which impel the three-judge court to issue the injunction order.

In 1945, the State of Pennsylvania enacted a Limited Access Highway statute.

It does not differ very substantially from any other limited access highway statute.

Acts of this sort have been passed all over the country, in an effort to control the traffic deaths and injuries on the highways.

It has been the experience of many states and many municipalities that limiting access and preventing the interruption of traffic by ingress and egress from the ribbon developments along highways will materiality control traffic hazards, will allow traffic to move at much greater solarity and will inure to the peace and welfare of the communities.

We also feel in connection with court cases that if limited access highways become more pronounced throughout the country the amount of the backlog that has concerned the Chief Justice and other members of the Court would be greatly reduced because the traffic accident cases move from the highways into the courts and represent 80% of the backlog.

Now in this particular instance, the roadway originally was established by the County of Allegheny, a municipal subdivision of the state, as an ‘Airport Parkway'.

It was in no sense a service road as described by the court below.

It was an airport freeway which extended for a distance of five miles from the intersection of Routes 22 and 30 to the municipal airport in Allegheny County.

This road was established by Allegheny County in 1949.

As I stated, the Limited Access Highway Act was enacted in 1945.

At the time of the enactment of the freeway to the airport, the land was acquired in part by purchase by the County and some of the land was acquired by condemnation, some of the properties from very plaintiffs who are involved in this litigation.

In an Airport freeway, there is ingress and egress to the highway and certain of the commercial properties such as gasoline stations were established in order to utilize the greater commercial value of the freeway, and there is no doubt that there was some commercial advantage by being on a freeway of that type.

The limited access highway will effectively prevent any ingress and egress except were in designated by the Secretary of Highways, and there is no doubt that some of the properties that are fronting on the access highway will be materially effected.

It has been asserted in the record that damages in excess of a million dollars will be involved and we consider that that is a fair estimate of the damage that will be involved in these cases.


Anne X. Alpern:

No, that is the amount of damage involved, we do not concur that it is compensable damage.

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

Well, General Alpern, you mean by that lost of --

Anne X. Alpern:

Market value.

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

-- business, market value of the real estate itself or the business value?

Anne X. Alpern:

Well we mean market value.

Now the court below speaks of loss of business that in the condemnation procedures in Pennsylvania the only test for condemnation is the value before and after, and we believe the court was in error in placing upon the case, the emphasis of loss of business, which is really not involved whether the case was compensable or not compensable.

What happened here was that the Plaintiffs, instead of proceeding in a manner provided in the act which provides in Section 8, that they may proceed to determine damages in the same way as damages are now determined in boroughs and townships and that method is through Board of Reviewerer.

That is the historical and normal method for determining condemnation results.