No. 433 April Term 1977, Joint Appeal from the Order dated Dec. 22, 1976, entered on Dec. 23, 1976, of the Court of Common Pleas of Mercer County, Pa., Civil Action - Law, at No. 25 E.Q. 1976 in Equity.
Charles C. Arensberg, Pittsburgh, for appellants.
William G. McConnell, Sharon, for appellees.
Watkins, President Judge, and Jacobs, Hoffman, Cercone, Price, Van der Voort and Spaeth, JJ. Watkins, former President Judge, and Hoffman, J., did not participate in the consideration or decision of this case.
[ 259 Pa. Super. Page 461]
In November 1975 appellees filed a demand for arbitration with the American Arbitration Association, alleging that appellants had failed to comply with the terms of a 1967 construction agreement. Appellants responded by filing suit in Allegheny County to enjoin the arbitration. Appellees
[ 259 Pa. Super. Page 462]
filed preliminary objections, requesting a change of venue and challenging the court's jurisdiction. A change of venue was granted, and the suit was transferred to Mercer County. On December 22, 1976, the court there sustained the preliminary objection challenging jurisdiction, and dismissed the complaint. This appeal is from that order.*fn1
In Witney v. Lebanon City, 369 Pa. 308, 311-12, 85 A.2d 106, 108 (1952), the Supreme Court explained how to decide whether a court has jurisdiction:
In Zerbe Township School District v. Thomas, 353 Pa. 162, 44 A.2d 566, we stated principles which are here applicable, namely that even though a plaintiff have no standing to bring his action, even though his complaint be demurrable, even though he fail to establish its allegations, even though the court should finally conclude that the relief he seeks should not be granted, not any or all of these circumstances would enter into, much less determine, the question whether the court had jurisdiction of the litigation. We there pointed out that the test of jurisdiction was the competency of the court to determine controversies of the general class to which the case presented for its consideration belonged, -- whether the court had power to enter upon the inquiry, not whether it might ultimately decide that it was unable to grant the relief sought in the particular case; that the Act of 1925 was not intended to furnish a short cut to a determination of the issues of law or fact raised by the pleadings and that it was not concerned with matters going to the right of the plaintiff to recover on his cause of action but only with his right to have his cause of action heard and determined.
The application of this test has resulted in it being consistently held that an arbitration clause in a contract does not affect the ...