On December 14, 2005, the following papers were read on motion by Defendant for
a new trial or reopening of the proof:
Notice of Motion and Affirmation Annexed
Upon the foregoing papers, and after hearing Reynolds E. Hahn, Esq. on
Defendant’s behalf and Michael G. Wolfgang, Esq. on Claimant’s
behalf, this motion is granted in part.
In this motion the Defendant seeks either a new trial of this claim, or a
reopening of the trial to allow additional proof.
During the now concluded trial of this matter, I granted Claimant’s
application to stipulate to Defendant’s appraiser’s estimate of
value for the building and land improvements. The Defendant was unwilling to so
stipulate, but I granted that motion nonetheless. Since Claimant was willing to
rely upon the Defendant’s valuation of the improvements in its appraisal,
I declined to permit the Defendant to utilize all of Claimant’s appraisal
for cross-examination of Claimant’s appraiser, specifically with respect
to the valuation of the improvements.
It is from this ruling that Defendant sought relief at trial and now seeks
similar relief post trial. I had deferred ruling upon this motion in the hope
that the parties would be able to agree upon a settlement of the entire claim
while this matter was pending. Unfortunately, that was not to be, and I now
grant the Defendant’s motion in part.
To state the matter succinctly, the Claimant accepted the Defendant’s
appraiser’s valuation of the improvements, without the necessity of
litigating that valuation further, but contested his land value as determined by
comparable sales. To the extent that Defendant is chagrined because its
appraiser valued those improvements at a higher value than did Claimant’s
appraiser, neither party knows what values the opposing appraiser will opine,
until they each learn contemporaneously upon the exchange of the appraisals (22
While I denied Defendant’s request for this relief at trial, primarily in
the interest of judicial economy, and the apparent absence of prejudice to the
Defendant, I have now reconsidered. The motion seeking a new trial is denied,
but I will reopen the proof for the limited purpose of allowing the Defendant
the opportunity to cross-examine Claimant’s expert appraiser, Gregory C.
Klauk, utilizing all of Claimant’s appraisal “to attack [his]
credibility and competency... [and] probe... regarding any inconsistencies set
forth in the appraisal” (¶ 22 of Defendant’s affirmation in
The trial herein will be continued on August 29, 2006 at 10:00 a.m. The motion
is granted to the extent noted and otherwise denied.