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NOWICKI CONSTRUCTION CO. v. PANAR CORP. (04/26/85)

filed: April 26, 1985.

NOWICKI CONSTRUCTION CO., INC., APPELLEE,
v.
PANAR CORP., N.V. APPELLANT



NO. 02216 PHILADELPHIA 1983, Appeal from the Order of July 25, 1983, in the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County, Civil Division, at No. 79 13147-15.

COUNSEL

Michael J. O'Neill, Doylestown, for appellant.

Frederick C. Horn, Lansdale, for appellee.

Montemuro, Beck and Watkins, JJ.

Author: Beck

[ 342 Pa. Super. Page 11]

In this appeal we are asked to determine the extent, if any, to which two written documents signed by authorized agents of appellant Panar Corporation, N.V. (Panar), and appellee Nowicki Construction Company, Inc. (Nowicki), limit the amount collectible under Nowicki's mechanics' lien claim against Panar.*fn1 For the following reasons, we affirm the trial court's decision that neither document restricts Nowicki's mechanics' lien claim and that Nowicki is accordingly entitled to collect $37,460.99 on its lien claim.

[ 342 Pa. Super. Page 12]

By a written contract of November 5, 1978, Nowicki undertook construction of a stone addition to a residence owned by Panar and occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Deutsch. In pertinent part, the contract provided that

[i]n no event shall the total cost of the [stone addition] project . . . exceed the sum of $100,000. -- (one hundred thousand dollars). Payment of all invoices for completed work or delivered materials shall be paid by Panar Corporation N.V. at the end of each week . . . . Labor invoices will also . . . be paid at the end of each week in which they are presented.

In other words, the November 5 contract contemplated a "pay-as-you-go" arrangement with an aggregate cost of $100,000 or less.

Between November 6, 1978, and July 18, 1979, Nowicki submitted more than $100,000 in material and labor invoices which Panar partially paid in the amount of $122,327.13. In light of the unpaid balance on the submitted invoices, on July 23, 1979, Nowicki presented Panar with a written document that outlined certain work remaining to be done on the residential addition and stated that Nowicki's "fee for the completion of [the outlined] work [was] $5,000.00" The document further declared that Nowicki had "discounted in excess of $30,000.00 to [Panar's] account." Finally, the document bore a handwritten addendum, to wit, "All work to be completed by Aug. 4, '79 except gutters drain spout, shutters, hand rail at steps for payment of $5,000 -- completion fee." Authorized agents of Panar and Nowicki signed the document and initialed the addendum.

Thereafter, Panar did not pay Nowicki $5,000 pursuant to the parties' July 23 agreement, and Nowicki filed a mechanics' lien claim against Panar. On November 13, 1979, Nowicki instituted suit on the lien claim for ...


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