Houston v. Highway Commissioner

Decision Date27 April 1965
Citation152 Conn. 557,210 A.2d 176
CourtConnecticut Supreme Court
PartiesHoward E. HOUSTON et al. v. HIGHWAY COMMISSIONER of the State of Connecticut. Supreme Court of Errors of Connecticut

Francis R. Danaher, Meriden, for appellants (plaintiffs).

Jack Rubin, Asst. Atty. Gen., with whom, on the brief, was Harold M. Mulvey, Atty. Gen., for appellee (defendant).

Before KING, C. J., and MURPHY, ALCORN, COMLEY and SHANNON, JJ.

MURPHY, Associate Justice.

The plaintiffs have appealed from a judgment rendered on a report of a state referee reassessing the damages sustained by the plaintiffs in the taking by the defendant of a portion of their property for highway purposes. General Statutes § 13-150 (now § 13a-76). The parties waived the statutory requirement that the referee 'shall view the land' in connection with his duties in the reassessment. The plaintiffs, dissatisfied with the referee's determination of damages, sought unsuccessfully to have the report rejected on the ground that the viewing of the land was mandatory and could not be waived. That is the principal question for our determination.

We have consistently held that the visual observations made by the trier on a visit to the property are as much evidence as the evidence presented for his consideration by the witnesses under oath. They are in fact supplemental evidence. Altman v. Hill, 144 Conn. 233, 237, 129 A.2d 358; Hollister v. Cox, 131 Conn. 523, 525, 41 A.2d 93, 156 A.L.R. 1412; G. F. Heublein, Inc. v. Street Commissioners, 109 Conn. 212, 218, 146 A. 20; Forbes v. Town of Orange, 85 Conn. 255, 257, 82 A. 559; McGar v. Borough of Bristol, 71 Conn. 652, 655, 42 A. 1000; 29 C.J.S. Eminent Domain § 298. It is axiomatic that, in litigation, the parties may waive their right to offer evidence and may stipulate to the facts. General Statutes § 13-150, now § 13a-76, requires the referee to view the property, but this requirement may be dispensed with by the mutual agreement of the parties. The plaintiffs have advanced no legitimate reason why they should be permitted to recant the waiver voluntarily relinquishing their right to have the referee view the land. See State v. Rankin, 102 Conn. 46, 49, 127 A. 916; Goldberg v. Krayeske, 102 Conn. 137, 141, 128 A. 27; Nowey v. Kravitz, 133 Conn. 394, 395, 51 A.2d 495; Krupa v. Farmington River Power Co., 147 Conn. 153, 156, 157 A.2d 914; Rockford, R. I. & St. L. R. Co. v. Coppinger, 66 Ill. 510, 512; 29 C.J.S. Eminent Domain § 288.

The plaintiffs have also assigned as error the denial by the referee of a request for a special finding under Practice Book § 355. As indicated in the decision of the referee, the facts...

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15 cases
  • Kelly v. Ivler
    • United States
    • Connecticut Supreme Court
    • May 4, 1982
    ...property are as much evidence as the evidence presented for his consideration by the witnesses under oath.' Houston v. Highway Commissioner, 152 Conn. 557, 558, 210 A.2d 176 (1965); see D'Addario v. Commissioner of Transportation, 180 Conn. 355, 366, 429 A.2d 890 (1980); Birnbaum v. Ives, [......
  • Commissioner of Transportation v. Towpath Associates
    • United States
    • Connecticut Supreme Court
    • March 27, 2001
    ...Conn. 443, 452, 270 A.2d 680 (1970), cert. denied, 400 U.S. 1008, 91 S. Ct. 566, 27 L. Ed. 2d 621 (1971); Houston v. Highway Commissioner, 152 Conn. 557, 558, 210 A.2d 176 (1965). This court has also held that the trial court has the discretion to disregard the opinion of an expert or appra......
  • D'Addario v. Commissioner of Transp.
    • United States
    • Connecticut Supreme Court
    • April 22, 1980
    ...20, 301 A.2d 262; Stanley Works v. New Britain Redevelopment Agency, 155 Conn. 86, 99, 230 A.2d 9 (1967); Houston v. Highway Commissioner, 152 Conn. 557, 558, 210 A.2d 176 (1965). In condemnation proceedings, the trial court is more than a trier of facts or an arbiter of differing opinions ......
  • W.R. Assoc of Norwalk v. Comm'r of Transp.
    • United States
    • Connecticut Superior Court
    • June 18, 1999
    ...a visit to the property are as much evidence as the evidence presented . . . by the witnesses under oath." Houston v. Highway Commissioner, 152 Conn. 557, 558, 210 A.2d 176 (1965); Gentile v. Ives, 159 Conn. 443, 452, 270 A.2d 680 (1970), cert. denied, 400 U.S. 1008, 91 S. Ct. 566, 27 L. Ed......
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