Original jurisdiction in case of Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, an agency of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Abreen Corporation, t/a Mahanoy Building Associates and Mahanoy Associates.
John E. Flaherty, Jr., with him, Philip M. Kruger and Harold E. Dunbar, Chief Counsel, for plaintiffs.
Alan B. Rubenstein, Rackemann, Sawyer & Brewster, for defendants.
Judge Craig. Memorandum Opinion by Judge Craig.
[ 84 Pa. Commw. Page 572]
The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) has addressed our original jurisdiction, filing a complaint in equity and a petition for a preliminary injunction, which seek to enjoin the American Arbitration Association (AAA) from hearing a dispute concerning a construction contract and a building loan agreement involving the PHFA, Abreen Corporation (contractor) and Mahanoy Associates
[ 84 Pa. Commw. Page 573]
(owner).*fn1 In response, the contractor has filed preliminary objections.
The PHFA provided construction and permanent financing for a construction contract, in which the contractor agreed to build for the owner an apartment project for the elderly.*fn2 After a lengthy delay in the commencement of construction, the contractor, seeking damages against the owner and PHFA, filed a written demand for arbitration with the AAA, pursuant to contract provisions expressly phrased by the PHFA's own supplementary general conditions, which submit disputes involving the contractor, architect, owner and the PHFA to AAA arbitration.*fn3 The
[ 84 Pa. Commw. Page 574]
AAA has scheduled the matter for hearing on October 5, 1982.
In pursuing this action, the PHFA, seeking to avoid the express contract terms, contends that the Board of Claims is the exclusive forum to hear the contractor's claims against the PHFA, citing the act that created the Board (Board of Claims Act),*fn4 in particular, 72 P.S. § 4651-4, which provides:
The Board of Claims shall have exclusive jurisdiction to hear and determine all claims against the Commonwealth arising from contracts hereafter entered into with the Commonwealth, where the ...