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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. JOSEPH BUCHEIT & SONS CO. AND MAGNA-FLUX CORPORATION (10/23/84)

decided: October 23, 1984.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, APPELLEE,
v.
JOSEPH BUCHEIT & SONS CO. AND MAGNA-FLUX CORPORATION, APPELLANT, V. PITTSBURGH DES-MOINES STEEL COMPANY, APPELLEE. COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, APPELLEE, V. JOSEPH BUCHEIT & SONS CO., APPELLANT, AND MAGNA-FLUX CORPORATION, V. PITTSBURGH DES-MOINES STEEL COMPANY, APPELLEE



No. 34 M.D. Appeal Docket 1983, Appeal from Order of the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, No. 492 C.D. 1981 (Original Jurisdiction) entered May 3, 1983. No. 35 M.D. Appeal Docket 1983, Appeal from Order of the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, No. 492 C.D. 1981 (Original Jurisdiction) entered May 3, 1983.

COUNSEL

Daniel Mungall, Jr., Jeanne Ward Ryan, Philadelphia, for appellant in J-77-1984.

Franklin A. Miles, Jr., Harrisburg, for Magna-Flux Corp.

George D. Wenick, Harrisburg, for Comm/PennDOT.

Roger Curran, Pittsburgh, for Pitts. Des Moines Steel Corp.

Franklin A. Miles, Jr., David E. Lehman, Harrisburg, for appellant in J-78-1984.

Jeanne Ward Ryan, Philadelphia, for Bucheit & Sons, Co.

Nix, C.j., and Larsen, Flaherty, McDermott, Hutchinson, Zappala and Papadakos, JJ. Hutchinson, J., files a dissenting opinion.

Author: Zappala

[ 506 Pa. Page 3]

Opinion

In Commonwealth, Department of General Services v. Frank Briscoe Co., Inc., 502 Pa. 449, 466 A.2d 1336 (1983), this Court held that where "the Commonwealth has initiated suit in the Commonwealth Court," that court's "jurisdiction over 'civil actions or proceedings' includes jurisdiction to decide counterclaims which arise from the same underlying transaction." 502 Pa. at 457, 466 A.2d at 1340. We must now decide whether the reasoning in Briscoe extends so far as to support jurisdiction in the Commonwealth Court to decide claims filed against an additional defendant by an original defendant in a suit initiated by the Commonwealth. We determine that it does not.

In 1974, the Department of Transportation entered into a contract with Bucheit, the Appellant in No. 35, for the construction of the Brady Street Bridge in Pittsburgh. The Department also entered into a separate contract with Magna-Flux, the Appellant in No. 34, to inspect, test, and certify the structural steel used to construct the bridge. Bucheit, in turn, entered into a subcontract with Pittsburgh-Des Moines Steel, Appellee in both cases, to supply the steel for the bridge.

In 1977, the Department determined that certain work on the bridge involving the welding of steel girders was defective. As a result, it ordered Bucheit to make the necessary repairs, which was done. Thereupon, Bucheit instituted ...


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