Phila. subcontractor files suit against N.J. construction firm over unpaid work

By Jon Campisi | May 4, 2012

A Northeast Philadelphia electric company is suing a New Jersey construction firm in state court, alleging the defendant failed to pay the plaintiff the remaining balance on a subcontract relating to a construction project at a local shipping port.

Attorneys Shawn R. Farrell and Christopher P. Soper, of the Philadelphia firm Cohen, Seglias, Pallas, Greenhall & Furman, P.C., filed the civil action April 30 at Philadelphia’s Common Pleas Court on behalf of Aubrey Green Electric Inc.

The defendants listed in the suit are Blackwood, N.J.-based A.P. Construction Inc. and Boston, Mass.-based Liberty Mutual Insurance Company.

The contract dispute relates to a repair project at Philadelphia’s Tioga Marine Terminal that A.P. Construction was tapped to lead back in 2009.

More than a year after entering into a contract with the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority, A.P. entered into an oral subcontract with Aubrey Green wherein the subcontractor would provide labor and material necessary to complete a fire alarm system on the project, according to the complaint.

Aubrey Green subsequently provided the defendant with $444,448.47 in labor and materials, the suit claims.

A.P., however, only provided Aubrey Green with payment in the amount of $298,650, leaving a balance of $145,798.47, the lawsuit states.

Aubrey Green, who had entered into the oral subcontract with the defendant in April 2011, last provided labor and materials to the project on March 30 of this year, the complaint alleges.

The plaintiff had provided A.P. with a breakdown of the amount owed back in November of last year.

To date, despite repeated demands, the defendants have failed to compensate the plaintiff with the proper amount of money, the suit claims.

“Aubrey Green performed its duties in a timely, professional, workman like manner in accordance with the Subcontract,” the lawsuit states. “Aubrey Green has fulfilled all conditions precedent for final payment.”

The lawsuit contains counts of breach of contract and quantum meruit against A.P. Construction. It also accuses the defendant of violating Pennsylvania’s Contractor and Subcontractor Payment Act.

The suit additionally contains a count of breach of bond obligation against Liberty Mutual Insurance Company, since Liberty, as surety, had issued the payment bond on behalf of A.P. to secure payment to subcontractors and material suppliers providing labor and materials to the project.

“Upon information and belief, Liberty executed such a bond and undertook the obligations of the Payment Bond, with the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority as obligee, to ensure payment to subcontractors and materials suppliers providing labor and materials to the project,” the lawsuit states. “By virtue of the Payment Bond issued by Liberty, it is bound to make such payments to all unpaid Project subcontractors and materials suppliers.”

Aubrey Green Electric seeks the amount of compensation it claims is owed as a result of its work on the marine terminal project, $145,798.47, in addition to attorney’s fees, interest, litigation costs and other court relief.


The case ID number is 120403465.


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