Federal Miller Act Lawyers
Experienced Construction Miller Act Litigation Lawyers
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Federal Project Performance and Payment Bonds
Under the Miller Act, all federal projects in excess of $100,000 must be bonded. The contractor must furnish both a performance and payment bond to the government. However, the Miller Act also limits the right to initiate suit to those dealing with the prime contractor and those having a direct contractual relationship with a subcontractor to the prime contractor. There are also important notice requirements that may be applicable to preserve or protect your bond rights. Watson & Associates, LLC provides guidance to prime contractors, subcontractors, material suppliers that are involved in government construction projects. We also serve as counsel to corporate attorneys that need assistance in navigating the complex federal regulations and surety disputes.
Talk to a government construction lawyer about how the Federal Miller Act affects your rights and responsibilities on federal projects. Contact our office to assert or defend your rights – call 1-866-601-5518.
The Miller Act protects subcontractors, suppliers, and the federal government by requiring the prime contractor to provide surety bonds for performance of the construction contract and payment for labor and materials.
If you are a prime contractor, a subcontractor or a supplier on a federal project, the Miller Act can affect you. As a prime contractor, you must post surety bonds. As a subcontractor or supplier, you need to know your rights in the event of nonpayment.
Located in Denver, Colorado, our law firm serves individuals and companies involved in business, government construction and manufacturing disputes. Our construction law attorneys provide our clients with a high level of knowledge and experience. Contact us to set up a telephone or office consultation to discuss your legal needs.
Miller Act – The Bottom Line
Although you cannot file a lien on a federal construction job, you can still recover your payment on a payment bond claim. If you furnish labor or materials for a construction project owned by the federal government, federal law prevents you from filing a mechanics’ lien.
The Federal Miller Act governs claims against payment bonds issued in connection with federal construction projects. A payment bond is issued by a surety company (the FAR also allows for individual sureties), which undertakes to pay the claims of qualifying parties who furnish labor or materials to the federal construction project, subject to the provisions of the Miller Act, and the terms and conditions of the payment bond itself.
Under the Miller Act, there are two classes of claimants who are eligible to assert a claim against the payment bond: (1) those who furnish labor or materials to the prime contractor for the project, and (2) those who furnish labor or materials to a first-tier subcontractor for the project. A party who furnishes labor or materials to a second-tier or lower subcontractor is not eligible to assert a Miller Act claim against the payment bond. Neither is a party who furnishes materials to another material supplier.
If your contract is directly with the prime contractor, you are not required to furnish any written notices that you are asserting a claim against the payment bond. You need only file suit to enforce your payment bond claim within one year of the last date that you furnished labor or materials. In practice, however, it is generally advisable to obtain a copy of the payment bond and give written notice of nonpayment and written notice of your payment bond claim to the owner, the prime contractor, and the surety company well before the one-year suit deadline. This may get you paid without the need to file suit to enforce your payment bond claim. Contact Watson & Associates to help you draft the proper documents.
However, if your contract is with a first-tier subcontractor, then there are further requirements, in addition to filing suit within one year. In this circumstance you must also furnish (1) a written notice of nonpayment and (2) a written notice of your payment bond claim to the prime contractor within 90 days of the last date that you furnished labor or materials to the job for which a balance remains due. This notice must be actually received by the prime contractor by this deadline, not just mailed by the deadline. The notices must be sent by registered mail with a return receipt requested. Although not required by the Federal Miller Act, the notice should also be furnished within the same time frame to the owner, the surety company, and the claimant’s customer on the job (the first-tier subcontractor).
Not all federal jobs are bonded. The general requirement is that federal jobs in excess of $100,000 are to be bonded. However, the Miller Act specifically exempts certain jobs, including, for example, certain Army, Navy, Air Force and transportation jobs. Thus, it is crucial for potential bond claimants to find out whether any federal job that they are subcontracting for is (a) covered by a payment bond, and (b) that they would qualify as a party able to claim against the bond
There are many complex and technical issues that can arise under the Federal Miller Act. Anyone contemplating reliance on such a bond, or estimating the risk posed by entering into a contract as a subcontractor on a federal job is strongly advised to consult with one of our attorneys before committing.
Understand Rules for a Federal Miller Act Surety
Miller Act Surety Defense: If you are involved or are contemplating bidding on a federal government construction project in Colorado, your construction and Miller Act lawyer should advise you that there are two types of sureties. (a)Individual Surety and (b) Corporate Sureties. There is also the type of surety prescribed by FAR 28.201 and 28.204. The Contracting Officer is authorized to accept individual sureties that can produce certain wealth and assets that adequately protect the government’s financial interests.
If you are faced with federal claims from a subcontractor or there is a dispute for nonpayment under a Miller Act payment bond, then contact us and let one of our Colorado Miller Act surety defense law attorneys handle your case. We ensure that we have qualified experts that can articulate damages and that can persuasively compute any damages or defense to your surety claim.
Miller Act Payment Bond Issues
Some Miller Act and surety defense lawyers must understand the difference between the Colorado “Little Miller Act” and the Federal Miller Act. Reading the two closely, one will find that the Colorado Act has some unique differences. As a person seeks to file a claim under either Act, you should seek a qualified Miller Act payment bond and Surety defense attorney that understands the jurisdiction of the State of Colorado for either claim. Our trained attorneys can assist you in this area.
When is a Subcontractor Due Payment?
Payment under the Miller Act only applies to work that is satisfactorily completed. This is important when a subcontractor files a claim for non-payment. Another important factor is that the Prompt Payment Actis not held against a surety if the amount of payment is in dispute.
Contact us for Immediate Help
If you are a Miller Act Surety and need immediate defense from a skillful law firm, then contact one of our construction attorneys today for immediate help at 720.941.7200 or toll free at 1-866-601-5518.
Watson’s Federal Miller Act attorneys can serve represent Denver or Colorado Contractors and sureties on Federal construction projects or serve as special counsel and provide federal contract advise in matters in Wyoming, Washington State, California, Maryland, New Mexico, Kansas and Nebraska, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Arkansas, Colorado Springs, Utah, Oklahoma, Ohio, Maine, Florida, Texas, Nevada, Maryland, Louisiana, Las Vegas, Georgia, Hawaii, Alaska, Washington, D.C., West Virginia, Florida, Indiana, Washington State, Mississippi, California, Tennessee, Tampa, Miami, Virgin Islands, Rhode Island, Vermont, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Missouri, Virginia, Delaware, Connecticut, Arizona, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Montana.
Additional online Resources
- The law on payment bonds
- Colorado Construction Laws
- Standard forms and contracts
- Opinions for the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals
- Federal Acquisition Regulations
- Central Contractor Registration
- Small Business Administration
- Federal Contract Opportunities
- Office of Federal Procurement Policy
- Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs
- Our Government Contracts Lawyers Consulting Services
- Department of Agriculture
- Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals
- U.S. Supreme Court