Abrahams & Lowenstein, Richard B. Klein, Nicholas Panarella, Jr., Philadelphia, for appellants.
Steven E. Angstreich, Philadelphia, for appellees.
Jones, C. J., and Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix and Manderino, JJ.
Appellees T & R Painting Company and Anthony and Russell DiLugi filed suit in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia on July 17, 1973, against the Philadelphia Housing Authority (Authority) as a result of a dispute arising from a painting contract between the parties. On October 16, 1973, the Court of Common
Pleas dismissed the complaint for want of jurisdiction, apparently believing that exclusive original jurisdiction lay with the Commonwealth Court because the Authority was believed to be an agency of the Commonwealth.
Appellees did not appeal this order. Instead, they filed suit in the Commonwealth Court on March 25, 1974. The Commonwealth Court, sua sponte, ordered the parties to brief and argue whether the action could properly be brought as an original action in the Commonwealth Court. After a hearing, the court held that it did not have jurisdiction of the action because Authority was not an agency of the Commonwealth and ordered the case transferred to the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia. Authority appeals this order.*fn1 Because we agree with the Commonwealth Court that Authority is a local agency and not an agency of the state for purposes of the Appellate Court Jurisdiction Act, we affirm the order transferring this case to the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia.
Section 401(a)(1) of the Appellate Court Jurisdiction Act, Act of July 31, 1970, P.L. 673, art. IV, § 401(a)(1), 17 P.S. § 211.401(a)(1) (Supp.1975), provides:
"(a) The Commonwealth Court shall have original jurisdiction of:
"(1) All civil actions or proceedings against the Commonwealth . . . ."
Section 102(a)(2) of the Act, 17 P.S. § 211.102(a)(2) (Supp.1975), provides:
"(2) 'Commonwealth' includes departments, departmental administrative boards and commissions, officers, independent boards or commissions, authorities and other agencies of this Commonwealth, but shall not ...