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01/13/95 HCB CONTRACTORS v. LIBERTY PLACE HOTEL

January 13, 1995

HCB CONTRACTORS, APPELLANT
v.
LIBERTY PLACE HOTEL ASSOCIATES, LIBERTY PLACE PARKING PHASE II ASSOCIATES, LIBERTY PLACE PARKING ASSOCIATES, KWIK PARK CORPORATION, LP ASSOCIATES, 1650 MARKET ASSOCIATES, LIBERTY PLACE RETAIL ASSOCIATES, L.P., APPELLEES



Appeal from the Order of the Superior Court, dated March 11, 1993, at Nos. 1325, 1326, 1327, and 1329 Philadelphia 1992, which affirmed the Order entered on March 17, 1992 by the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, at Nos. 128L, 129L, 130L, and 131L Nov. 1991. Before: Nix, C.j., Flaherty, Zappala, Papadakos, Cappy, Castille, And Montemuro, JJ. Mr. Justice Cappy concurs in the result. Mr. Justice Montemuro is sitting by designation.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Flaherty

OPINION OF THE COURT

JUSTICE FLAHERTY

DECIDED: January 13, 1995

This is an appeal by allowance from a memorandum decision of the Superior Court which affirmed an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County dismissing various mechanics' lien claims of HCB Contractors (HCB). HCB acted as general contractor in a four-element construction project, known as Liberty Place II, in the City of Philadelphia. Four separate but virtually identical contracts were entered by the parties in 1988, covering construction of the four elements, to wit, the hotel, garage, office, and retail facilities. Attached to each of the contracts was a statement of general conditions in which HCB expressly agreed not to file any mechanics' liens. In addition, appended to each of the contracts was a document entitled "Waiver of Liens" in which HCB again expressly waived its right to file mechanics' liens. All of the waiver of liens agreements were signed by HCB. Nevertheless, in 1991, HCB filed claims for mechanics' liens against all four of the project elements. The sum of the claims was nearly twenty-three million dollars.

The owners filed preliminary objections in the nature of demurrers, asserting that the waiver of liens provisions in the contracts precluded recovery. HCB responded that it had been fraudulently induced to enter the contracts and that the waivers were, therefore, invalid. The trial court sustained the preliminary objections and discharged the liens. The Superior Court affirmed. We too affirm.

Preliminary objections in the nature of demurrers are to be sustained only where facts averred in a complaint are clearly insufficient to establish the pleader's right to relief. Firing v. Kephart, 466 Pa. 560, 563-64, 353 A.2d 833, 834-35 (1976). Here, given the express waivers of liens contained in the contract documents and the failure by HCB to allege facts which might allow ...


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