Original jurisdiction in case of The General State Authority, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Coleman Cable & Wire Company, Cokain Electrical Service, Inc., Fidelity and Deposit Co. of Maryland, and McCormick, Taylor & Associates, Inc., Defendants, and Warehouse Electrical Supply, Inc. and Bellante, Clauss, Miller & Nolan, Inc., Additional Defendants.
Richard D. Holahan, Assistant General Counsel, and Michael A. Madar, General Counsel, for plaintiff.
John Phelan, with him Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, for defendant, Fidelity & Deposit Company of Maryland.
Nevin Stetler, with him Stetler & Gribbin, for additional defendant, Bellante, Clauss, Miller & Nolan.
Judges Crumlish, Jr., Wilkinson, Jr. and Rogers, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Rogers.
[ 32 Pa. Commw. Page 118]
The General State Authority (GSA) brought an action seeking damages for alleged defects in a primary electrical distribution system built at the Polk State School and Hospital. The defendants in the original action are Coleman Cable & Wire Company (Coleman), the manufacturer of the electric cable to be used in the work, Cokain Electrical Service, Inc. (Cokain), the electrical contractor for the project, McCormick, Taylor & Associates, Inc. (McCormick), the architect, and Fidelity and Deposit Company of Maryland (Fidelity), Cokain's surety.
Defendants Cokain and Fidelity, by separate complaints, joined Warehouse Electrical Supply, Inc. (Warehouse) as an additional defendant alleging that Warehouse had supplied defective cable to Cokain in breach of its warranties to Cokain. McCormick joined Bellante, Clauss, Miller & Nolan, Inc. (Bellante) as an additional defendant, alleging that Bellante had contracted
[ 32 Pa. Commw. Page 119]
with McCormick to do the electrical and technical design and on-site inspection work required by McCormick's professional contract with GSA and that Bellante was responsible for this work.
Fidelity filed an amended complaint, in the nature of a cross-claim, against Bellante, pursuant to Pa. R.C.P. No. 2252, claiming that if it (Fidelity) was held liable to GSA, then Bellante would be either jointly liable with or liable over to Fidelity and/or the other defendants, and/or that Bellante was solely liable to GSA for the damages claimed by GSA as against Fidelity. Bellante then filed preliminary objections to Fidelity's amended complaint. It is the sufficiency of Bellante's preliminary objections that is now before us.
Bellante contends that its joinder by Fidelity would not be proper under Pa. R.C.P. No. 2252 because it is not based upon the same transaction or series of transactions or occurrences as is the complaint of the original plaintiff, GSA. Rule 2252 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure provides:
(a) In any action the defendant or any additional defendant may, as the joining party, join as an additional defendant any person whether or not a party to the action who may be alone liable or liable over to him on the cause of action declared upon by the plaintiff or jointly or severally liable thereon with him, or who may be liable to the joining party on any cause of action which he may have against the joined party arising out of the ...