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DERRY TOWNSHIP SCHOOL DISTRICT v. SUBURBAN ROOFING CO. (11/07/86)

decided: November 7, 1986.

DERRY TOWNSHIP SCHOOL DISTRICT, APPELLANT
v.
SUBURBAN ROOFING CO., INC., APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County in the case of Suburban Roofing Co., Inc. v. Derry Township School District, No. 210 S 1983.

COUNSEL

Clyde W. McIntyre, McNees, Wallace & Nurick, for appellant.

Francis X. Clark, Ronald H. Silverman, P.C., for appellee.

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

Author: Barbieri

[ 102 Pa. Commw. Page 56]

In this construction contract dispute, Derry Township School District (District) appeals here from the entry of a judgment upon a jury verdict entered in Dauphin County Common Pleas Court in favor of Suburban Roofing Co., Inc., (Contractor) in the amount of $38,757.86. We affirm.

The following facts are pertinent. On March 9, 1981, the District awarded a contract to the Contractor for replacing the roof on the District's high school. The work was divided into three phases. Phase I involved work performed by the Contractor in June and July of 1981 before work was halted at the direction of the District's engineer. Phase II involved the balance of the roof replacement work which was completed in the autumn of 1982. After an arbitration award was entered on June 3, 1983 regarding a dispute which had arisen in connection with Phase I, the Contractor performed other work on the roof which was referred to as Phase III. Following the completion of the contract, a dispute arose between the District and the Contractor regarding payment for additional work the Contractor performed for which the District refused payment. The Contractor filed suit in common pleas court to recover payment for the nine disputed items and obtained a jury verdict in its favor in the amount of $38,757.86, after addition of interest. Following the denial of its post-trial motions, the District appealed to this Court.

In this appeal the District is contesting the jury awards for two items, the plank in storage and the tapered filled gussets. The District's contentions are: (1) the common pleas court erred in denying its motion for

[ 102 Pa. Commw. Page 57]

    judgment n.o.v. with respect to the claims for the tapered filled gussets and the plank in storage; (2) the doctrines of promissory estoppel and equitable estoppel do not apply to non-approved extra work under a written contract which requires all such claims to be in writing; and (3) the closing argument by the Contractor's counsel was so prejudicial as to require the grant of a new trial or judgment n.o.v. We shall discuss these issues in the order stated.

Prior to reaching the merits of the District's appeal, we must initially determine whether it is properly before the Commonwealth Court. Section 762(a)(4) of the Judicial Code, 42 Pa. C.S. § 762(a)(4), pertains to the jurisdiction of this Court over matters involving local governments. 42 Pa. C.S. § 762(a)(4) states in relevant part:

(a) General rule.-Except as provided in subsection (b), the Commonwealth Court shall have exclusive jurisdiction of appeals from final orders of the courts ...


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