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[U] Morris v. Davis Giovinazzo Construction Co., Inc.

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

February 18, 2014

EDWARD J. MORRIS, ESQUIRE Appellant
v.
DAVIS GIOVINAZZO CONSTRUCTION COMPANY, INC., AND SUSQUEHANNA BANK. Appellee

NON-PRECEDENTIAL DECISION

Appeal from the Order Dated March 6, 2012 In the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County Civil Division at No(s): June Term, 2008 No. 01321

BEFORE: LAZARUS, J., OTT, J., and STRASSBURGER, J. [*]

MEMORANDUM

LAZARUS, J.

Edward J. Morris, Esquire, appeals from the order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County that granted the petition to distribute funds filed by intervenor Susquehanna Bank (Susquehanna), and directed Morris to distribute to Susquehanna all available funds he received from Domus, Inc.

On April 4, 2013, this Court issued a memorandum and order directing the trial court to file a supplemental opinion. Upon receipt of the supplemental opinion and additional briefing by Morris, we affirm the order of the trial court.

We previously set forth the relevant facts as follows:

In 2006, Susquehanna made loans and agreed to extend a line of credit to Davis-Giovinazzo Construction Co. (DGC). The loan and line of credit agreements were secured by a security agreement and a UCC-1 financing statement covering, inter alia, all of DGC's receivables. DGC failed to repay the loans, and on June 16, 2008, Susquehanna confessed judgment against DGC in the amount of $17, 079, 732.52 plus interest .
DGC owed money to several parties including Morris, who obtained a judgment against DGC for unpaid legal services in Montgomery County on May 5, 2008. Morris transferred the judgment to Philadelphia on June 9, 2008.
Domus, a general contractor on several large projects, hired DGC as a masonry subcontractor. At the time that Morris transferred his judgment to Philadelphia, Domus owed DGC a significant amount of money. In an attempt to collect on the judgment, Morris garnished from Domus $41, 150, the amount of his judgment plus interest. Domus paid the funds to Morris, despite requests from Susquehanna that it not do so because Susquehanna had a first lien on the Domus account receivable.
On March 19, 2009, when Susquehanna learned that Domus had transferred the funds to Morris, it filed an emergency petition to intervene and to freeze the funds. In response, the court ordered that all funds paid to Morris by Domus be frozen pending further order.
Meanwhile, DGC wished to collect the money that Domus owed it, and in June 2008, it filed a demand for AAA arbitration. On April 5, 2010, a panel of arbitrators ordered Domus to pay DGC $757, 174.00 plus a portion of the arbitrators' administrative fees. Shortly thereafter, Domus filed an action in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania alleging that multiple parties had claimed priority to the money it owed to DGC. Domus, Inc. v. Davis Giovinazzo Construction Co., Inc. et al., E.D.Pa. No. 10-1654. Susquehanna and Morris were among the several parties that participated in the federal court case. On August 22, 2011, the district court issued an order awarding the entire amount of the interplead funds to Susquehanna because it held a perfected security interest in all of DGC's accounts receivable.
In September 2011, Susquehanna notified the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas of the district court's decision. In response, the court entered the following order:
AND NOW, this 10th day of November 2011, upon consideration of the Petition to Intervene filed by Susquehanna Bank, the response thereto, and after a hearing and review after a review of supplemental pleadings, it is hereby ORDERED and DECREED that the Petition is ...

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