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Gito, Inc. v. Axis Architecture, P.C.

Pennsylvania Superior Court

December 10, 2021

The Pennsylvania Superior Court reversed an order from the Court of Common Pleas that sustained the defendant’s preliminary objections and dismissed the complaint. This dispute centered on an anti-assignment clause in a contract between a school board and architectural firm retained to design a new school. The project was completed months late, leading to litigation between the school district and the general contractor. Those parties settled. As part of the settlement, the school district assigned all remaining claims to the contractor. The contractor then sued the architectural firm, giving rise to the instant litigation. The architectural firm filed preliminary objections, citing an anti-assignment clause in the contract with the school district. The trial court granted the objections. The Superior Court did a laudable job of surveying precedent from across the country to reason that the purpose of a general anti-assignment clause is to prevent a party from assigning its performance of the contract to a third party without the consent of the other party. Moreover, the assignment of a claim for damages is different from the assignment of performance and does not implicate the purpose of the anti-assignment clause. Here, the Superior Court reversed the lower court and held that the assignment of a claim of damages was permissible.

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