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ALEX A. DISANTO v. DAUPHIN CONSOLIDATED WATER SUPPLY COMPANY (10/09/81)

filed: October 9, 1981.

ALEX A. DISANTO
v.
DAUPHIN CONSOLIDATED WATER SUPPLY COMPANY, APPELLANT



No. 63 March Term, 1979, Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas, Civil Division, Dauphin County, at No. 3693 of 1978.

COUNSEL

Michael W. Gang, Harrisburg, for appellant.

Gary M. Lightman, Harrisburg, for appellee.

Cercone, President Judge, and Watkins and Montgomery, JJ.

Author: Cercone

[ 291 Pa. Super. Page 442]

Dauphin Consolidated Water Supply Company [hereinafter Dauphin] takes this appeal from the lower court's dismissal of its preliminary objections to appellee DiSanto's complaint. Through its preliminary objections, Dauphin challenged the subject matter jurisdiction of the court of common pleas to hear this controversy. An interlocutory appeal was taken as of right under the former Act of March 5, 1925, P.L. 23, § 1, 12 P.S. § 672 (1953) which was expressly repealed by the Judiciary Act Repealer Act of April 28, 1978, P.L. 202, No. 53, § 2(a) [1069] effective June 27, 1980.*fn1 The

[ 291 Pa. Super. Page 443]

    sole question presented in this appeal, therefore, is whether the court of common pleas below properly exercised its subject matter jurisdiction over this controversy.

The facts of this case which have been properly pleaded are as follows: DiSanto is a real estate developer who has in the past engaged the services of Dauphin, a public utility in the business of supplying water service to the public. In the course of its business, Dauphin also secures the services of certain "approved" independent contractors to install water mains and water service lines in order to supply water to its customers.

On May 10, 1977, DiSanto contacted Dauphin and requested the latter to provide water service at his Woodridge Estates development. Dauphin agreed to provide the requested service and gave DiSanto a price of $29,471.00 for the installation of a water main and forty-nine customer service lines. DiSanto then obtained an estimate from an outside contractor to perform the same work for $17,875.00. Dauphin, however, refused DiSanto's request that this outside contractor be permitted to install the required water facilities for the lower price. Since Dauphin would not supply water over lines installed by DiSanto's contractor, DiSanto paid the sum of $29,471.00 to Dauphin on May 10, 1977 in order to have the lines installed.

DiSanto then instituted this equity action by filing a complaint with the Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin

[ 291 Pa. Super. Page 444]

County seeking both compensatory and punitive damages as well as injunctive relief. Dauphin timely filed preliminary objections asserting that the complaint questioned the reasonableness of the conditions required by a public utility for the extension of service. On this basis, Dauphin contends that the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission has initial or primary jurisdiction over such controversies, and that DiSanto has, ...


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