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DELAWARE RIVER PORT AUTHORITY v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (09/09/85)

decided: September 9, 1985.

THE DELAWARE RIVER PORT AUTHORITY, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, RESPONDENT



Appeal from the Order of the Board of Claims in the case of The Delaware River Port Authority v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Transportation, Docket No. 660.

COUNSEL

D. Donald Jamieson, with him, Jeffrey Cooper, Mesirov, Gelman, Jaffe, Cramer & Jamieson, for petitioner.

Michael J. McCaney, Jr., Assistant Counsel, with him, Spencer A. Manthorpe, Chief Counsel, and Jay C. Waldman, General Counsel, for respondent.

Judges MacPhail, Barry and Palladino, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Barry.

Author: Barry

[ 91 Pa. Commw. Page 519]

The Delaware River Port Authority (Authority) and the Department of Transportation (DOT) have filed a joint motion requesting a stay of certain proceedings presently before the Board of Claims (Board). This appeal results from the Board's denial of the joint motion.

The Authority commenced this action on October 25, 1979, by filing a complaint before the Board seeking

[ 91 Pa. Commw. Page 520]

    damages from DOT for breach of contract resulting from its failure to construct a highway, commonly referred to as the Casimir Pulaski Expressway. On March 29, 1982, DOT filed a complaint before this Court asserting a claim for damages against the Authority arising out of the identical factual situation. On August 22, 1982, the Authority filed in this Court a counterclaim based on the same allegations contained in its complaint before the Board. On February 3, 1984, both parties filed a joint motion asking the Board to stay the Authority's original action pending a determination of the proceedings before this Court. The Board denied the request and this appeal followed.*fn1

In its opinion the Board recognizes that forcing the same parties to simultaneously litigate the same issues in two different forums will result in "confusion, needlessly prolonged litigation and lack of judicial economy." (Opinion of the Board, 5/15/84, p. 2). However, it concludes that judicial economy will be advanced only if the matter is allowed to continue before the Board. We disagree.

Although both forums have properly acquired jurisdiction, we believe that in the interest of judicial economy, this matter should be decided in the forum where the parties are able to obtain a comprehensive disposition of all their claims. For the reasons that follow, we believe that forum is the Commonwealth Court.

In Department of General Services v. Frank Briscoe Company, Inc., 502 Pa. 449, 457, 466 A.2d 1336, 1340 (1983), the Supreme Court held that where "the ...


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