Missouri Bond Claim (Little Miller Act) Overview

It’s easy to file and manage your Missouri bond claims with zlien, the industry’s only all-in-one bond claim and security rights management platform. Get complete control over your bond claim rights on a state, county, or municipal project, by using intelligent technology. To learn more about Missouri’s bond claim laws and requirements, read the frequently asked questions below.

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Missouri

Preliminary Notice Deadlines
None / not applicable.

Missouri

Bond Claim Deadlines
None / not applicable.

Missouri

Preliminary Notice Deadlines
Notice must be sent according to requirements issued in the bond. It's a good practice, therefore, to request a copy of the bond at the start of construction.

Missouri

Bond Claim Deadlines
90 Days

Typically, lawsuit deadlines provided by the bond itself. However, some municipalities, have their own lawsuit deadline requirement. Notably, for example, St. Louis requires all suits be brought within 90 days of the project's substantial completion.

Missouri

Preliminary Notice Deadlines
Notice must be sent according to requirements issued in the bond. It's a good practice, therefore, to request a copy of the bond at the start of construction.

Missouri

Bond Claim Deadlines
90 Days

Typically, lawsuit deadlines provided by the bond itself. However, some municipalities, have their own lawsuit deadline requirement. Notably, for example, St. Louis requires all suits be brought within 90 days of the project's substantial completion.

Missouri Bond Claim (Little Miller Act) FAQs

Missouri Bond Claim FAQs

Who Is Protected under Missouri Bond Claim Laws?

In Missouri, the ability to make a claim on a bond on a public project is granted to subcontractors, second-tier subcontractors, and suppliers to contractors or subcontractors. Suppliers to suppliers are not protected.

When is the Deadline to File a Missouri Bond Claim?

There is no statutory time limit imposed on bond claimants in Missouri, however, the bond itself may include a deadline – Missouri generally will allow those requirements to control.

Who Should Receive the Missouri Bond Claim?

Set forth by bond.

When is the Deadline to Initiate Suit, or, How Long is My Missouri Bond Claim Effective?

Typically, lawsuit deadlines are provided by the bond itself. However, some municipalities have their own lawsuit deadline requirement. Notably, for example, St. Louis requires all suits be brought within 90 days of the project’s substantial completion. Generally speaking, absent specific requirements in the bond suit must be filed within 10 years.

What Must the Missouri Bond Claim Include?

Set forth by bond.

What Are the Lien Waiver Rules?

Missouri statutorily mandates that all parties on a construction project use certain legislatively designed construction lien waiver forms. This state is one of only 11 states that requires this. If a contractor or owner asks you to use a lien waiver form that does not conform to the statutory form, the waiver will be invalid, and the contractor could get in legal trouble. See this article: The 11 States with Statutory Lien Waiver Forms.

Missouri state law is unclear or silent about whether contractors and suppliers can waive their lien rights before any work on the project begins. Accordingly, you want to proceed with caution on this subject. You can learn more about such “no lien clauses” at this article: Where Can You Waive Your Lien Rights Before Payment?

Can Suppliers to Suppliers File Bond Claims?

No, suppliers to suppliers likely cannot file a bond claim in Missouri.

How Must the Missouri Bond Claim Be Sent?

Set forth by bond.

Missouri Public Project Preliminary Notice FAQs

Do I Need to Send a Missouri Preliminary Notice?

No formal statutory notice is required in Missouri, but it is required that any specific notice requirements set forth in the bond must be followed. Therefore, it is generally advisable to request a copy of the bond when beginning work.

When do I Need to Send a Missouri Preliminary Notice?

N/A

What if I Send the Missouri Preliminary Notice Late?

N/A

How Should the Missouri Preliminary Notice be Sent?

N/A

To Whom Must the MissouriPreliminary Notice be Given?

N/A

Missouri Bond Claim (Little Miller Act) Statutes

When you perform work on a state construction project in Missouri, and are not paid, you can file a “lien” against the project pursuant to Missouri’s Little Miller Act. Since the claim is not against the state or county’s actual property, but instead against a posted bond, the claim is not really called a “lien” but is more frequently referred to as a “bond claim” or “little miller act claim.”

Missouri’s Little Miller Act is found in Missouri Revised Statutes Title VIII, Chapter 107, and Title XIV, Chapter 227 and 229, and Title XXXVI, Chapter 522, and is reproduced below.

Missouri Little Miller Act

Chapter 107. Bonds of Officers and Contractors for Public Works

Section 107.170. Bond – public works contractor – defense of employees from suit, exceptions.

1.   As used in this section, the following terms mean:

(1) “Contractor”, a person or business entity who provides construction services under contract to a public entity. Contractor specifically does not include professional engineers, architects or land surveyors licensed pursuant to chapter 327, RSMo, those who provide environmental assessment services or those who design, create or otherwise provide works of art under a city’s formally established program for the acquisition and installation of works of art and other aesthetic adornments to public buildings and property;

(2) “Public entity”, any official, board, commission or agency of this state or any county, city, town, township, school, road district or other political subdivision of this state;

(3) “Public works”, the erection, construction, alteration, repair or improvement of any building, road, street, public utility or other public facility owned by the public entity.

2.   It is hereby made the duty of all public entities in this state, in making contracts for public works, the cost of which is estimated to exceed twenty-five thousand dollars, to be performed for the public entity, to require every contractor for such work to furnish to the public entity, a bond with good and sufficient sureties, in an amount fixed by the public entity, and such bond, among other conditions, shall be conditioned for the payment of any and all materials, incorporated, consumed or used in connection with the construction of such work, and all insurance premiums, both for compensation, and for all other kinds of insurance, said work, and for all labor performed in such work whether by subcontractor or otherwise.

3.   All bonds executed and furnished under the provisions of this section shall be deemed to contain the requirements and conditions as herein set out, regardless of whether the same be set forth in said bond, or of any terms or provisions of said bond to the contrary notwithstanding.

4.   Nothing in this section shall be construed to require a member of the school board of any public school district of this state to independently confirm the existence or solvency of any bonding company if a contractor represents to the member that the bonding company is solvent and that the representations made in the purported bond are true and correct. This subsection shall not relieve from any liability any school board member who has any actual knowledge of the insolvency of any bonding company, or any school board member who does not act in good faith in complying with the provisions of subsection 2 of this section.

5.   A public entity may defend, save harmless and indemnify any of its officers and employees, whether elective or appointive, against any claim or demand, whether groundless or otherwise arising out of an alleged act or omission occurring in the performance of a duty under this section. The provisions of this subsection do not apply in case of malfeasance in office or willful or wanton neglect of duty.

Chapter 227. State Highway System

Section 227.100. Publication of notices, where – construction bids – rejection – bond required.

1.   All contracts for the construction of said work shall be let to the lowest responsible bidder or bidders after notice and publication of an advertisement in a newspaper published in the county where the work is to be done, and in such other publications as the commission may determine.

2.   Each bid shall be accompanied by a certified check or a cashier’s check or a bid bond, guaranteed by a surety company authorized by the director of the department of insurance, financial institutions and professional registration to conduct surety business in the state of Missouri, equal to five percent of the bid, which certified check, cashier’s check, or bid bond shall be deposited with the commissioner as a guaranty and forfeited to the state treasurer to the credit of the state road fund in the event the successful bidder fails to comply with the terms of the proposal, and return to the successful bidder on execution and delivery of the performance bond provided for in subsection 4. The checks of the unsuccessful bidders shall be returned to them in accordance with the terms of the proposal.

3.   All notices of the letting of contracts under this section shall state the time and place when and where bids will be received and opened, and all bids shall be sealed and opened only at the time and place mentioned in such notice and in the presence of some member of the commission or some person named by the commission for such purpose.

4.   The successful bidders for the construction of said work shall enter into contracts furnished and prescribed by the commission and shall give good and sufficient bond, in a sum equal to the contract price, to the state of Missouri, with sureties approved by the commission and to ensure the proper and prompt completion of said work in accordance with the provisions of said contracts, and plans and specifications; provided, that if, in the opinion of the majority of the members of the commission, the lowest bid or bids for the construction of any of the roads, or parts of roads, herein authorized to be constructed, shall be excessive, then, and in that event, said commission shall have the right, and it is hereby empowered and authorized to reject any or all bids, and to construct, under its own direction and supervision, all of such roads and bridges, or any part thereof.

Section 227.600. Citation of law – definitions.

1.   Sections 227.600 to 227.669 shall be known and may be cited as the “Missouri Public-Private Partnerships Transportation Act”.

2. As used in sections 227.600 to 227.669, unless the context clearly requires otherwise, the following terms mean:

(1) “Commission”, the Missouri highways and transportation commission;

(2) “Comprehensive agreement”, the final binding written comprehensive project agreement between a private partner and the commission required in section 227.621 to finance, develop, and/or operate the project;

(3) “Department”, the Missouri department of transportation;

(4) “Develop” or “development”, to plan, locate, relocate, establish, acquire, lease, design, or construct;

(5) “Finance”, to fund the costs, expenses, liabilities, fees, profits, and all other charges incurred to finance, develop, and/or operate the project;

(6) “Interim agreement”, a preliminary binding written agreement between a private partner and the commission that provides for completion of studies and any other activities to advance the financing, development, and/or operation of the project required by section 227.618;

(7) “Material default”, any uncured default by a private partner in the performance of its duties that jeopardizes adequate service to the public from the project as determined by the commission;

(8) “Operate” or “operation”, to improve, maintain, equip, modify, repair, administer, or collect user fees;

(9) “Private partner”, any natural person, corporation, partnership, limited liability company, joint venture, business trust, nonprofit entity, other business entity, or any combination thereof;

(10)  “Project”, a bridge to be owned by the commission and the Illinois department of transportation or any other suitable public body of the state of Illinois, which is located across the boundaries of the state of Illinois and the state of Missouri in a city not within a county to be financed, developed, and/or operated under agreement between the commission, a private partner, the Illinois department of transportation, and, if appropriate, any other suitable public body of the state of Illinois;

(11) “Public use”, a finding by the commission that the project to be financed, developed, and/or operated by a private partner under sections 227.600 to 227.669 will improve or is needed as a necessary addition to the state highway system;

(12)  “Revenues”, include but are not limited to the following which arise out of or in connection with the financing, development, and/or operation of the project:

(a)  Income;

(b) Earnings;

(c)  Proceeds;

(d) User fees;

(e)  Lease payments;

(f)  Allocations;

(g) Federal, state, and local moneys; or

(h) Private sector moneys, grants, bond proceeds, and/or equity investments;

(13)  “State”, the state of Missouri;

(14)  “State highway system”, the state system of highways and bridges planned, located, relocated, established, acquired, constructed, and maintained by the commission under section 30(b), article IV, Constitution of Missouri;

(15)  “User fees”, tolls, fees, or other charges authorized to be imposed by the commission and collected by the private partner for the use of all or a portion of a project under a comprehensive agreement.

Section 227.633. Private partner to provide financial information – bond may be required.

1.   The private partner shall, in connection with the financing, development, and/or operation of the project, provide the following:

(1) Security and warranties in the forms and amounts satisfactory to the commission;

(2) An annual financial statement audited by an independent certified public accountant approved by the commission and such other financial reports and information as required by the commission and in a form acceptable to the commission;

(3) A summary of any and all compensation from all sources for the project to the private partner;

(4) Evidence satisfactory to the commission of procurement and maintenance at the private partner’s expense of commercial insurance for such purposes and in an amount required by the commission, including but not limited to:

(a)  Commercial general liability insurance for all damages and losses imposed by law and assumed under the comprehensive agreement. Commercial general liability insurance shall be in coverage and amount consistent with section 227.663 and shall name the state of Missouri for the benefit of the state legal expense fund, and the commission and the commission’s members, agents, and employee’s as additional insureds. Each commercial general liability insurance policy and commercial automobile liability insurance policy shall also contain a separation of insureds conditions; and

(b) Workers’ compensation insurance or evidence provided by the private partner that the private partner is qualified by the division of workers’ compensation as self-insured and carries insurance for employer’s liability sufficient to comply with all obligations under state law relating to workers’ compensation and employer’s liability.

2.   Notwithstanding the provisions of section 107.170, RSMo, and section 227.100 to the contrary, a bid bond shall not be required for the project; except that, the commission may require the private partner to provide such other bonds in such amounts determined by the commission to be adequate for the protection of the commission and provided by a surety or sureties satisfactory to the commission, including but not limited to:

(1) A performance bond;

(2) A payment bond for the protection of all persons supplying labor and material in carrying out the work provided for in the comprehensive agreement for the project. The amount of the payment bond shall equal the total amount payable under the terms of the comprehensive agreement unless the commission determines in writing supported by specific findings that a payment bond in such amount is impractical, in which case the commission shall establish the amount of the payment bond; except that, the amount of the payment bond shall not be less than the amount of the performance bond.

Section 229.050. Engineer's estimate of cost – advertisement for bids – contract.

1.   Whenever it shall be ordered by the county commission, township board or district commissioner, as the case may be, that any road, bridge or culvert in the county be constructed, reconstructed or improved or repaired by contract, and the engineer’s estimated cost thereof exceeds the sum of five hundred dollars, the county, township or district authorities shall order the county highway engineer, or other engineer in their employ, or both such engineers acting together, if so desired, to prepare and file with the clerk of the county commission, township board or district commissioners, as the case may be, all necessary maps, plans, specifications and profiles, and an estimate of the cost of the work. The county commission or other proper authority may approve or reject the maps, plans, specifications and profiles and order others prepared and filed.

2. When the maps, plans, specifications and profiles have been approved, the county, township or district authorities shall order the engineer to advertise the letting of the contract proposed to be let by advertisement in some newspaper published in the county wherein the contract is to be executed, which said advertisement shall be published once a week for three consecutive weeks, the last insertion to be within ten days of the day of letting.

3. All bids shall be in writing, accompanied by instructions to bidders which shall be furnished by the engineer upon application. All bids on road work shall state the unit prices upon which the same are based. All bids shall be sealed and filed with the clerk of the county commission, township board or special road district commissioners, and, on the day and at the hour named in the advertisement, shall be publicly opened and read in the presence of the county commission, township board or special road district commissioners, and the engineer, and shall then be recorded in detail in some suitable book. All bids shall be accompanied by a certified check equal to ten percent of the engineer’s estimate of cost, payable to the county treasurer, to the use of the county, township or road district, as the case may be, or a bidder’s bond executed by some surety company authorized to do business in this state or other good and sufficient surety in a like sum shall be given, as a guarantee on the part of the bidder that if his bid be accepted he will, within ten days after receipt of notice of such acceptance, enter into contract and bond to do the work advertised, and in case of default forfeit and pay sum of ten percent of the engineer’s estimate of cost.

4. The contract shall be awarded to the lowest responsible bidder. The county commission may in its discretion reject any or all bids. Any bid in excess of the engineer’s estimate of the cost of the work to be done shall be rejected. When it shall be decided by order of record to accept any bid, the county, township or district authorities shall order a contract to be entered into by and between the bidder and the county, township or special road district, as the case may be. The contract shall have attached to and made a part thereof the proposal sheet, instructions to bidders, and bid, maps, plans, specifications and profiles.

5. Whenever the contract is executed and approved by order of record and endorsement thereon, it shall be filed and preserved as a permanent record. It shall be incorporated in the contract that the county, township or special road district shall reserve the right to make any additions to, omissions from, changes in or substitutions for the work or materials called for by the drawings and specifications, without notice to the surety on the bond given to secure the faithful performance of the terms of the contract. The bidder must agree that before the county or political subdivision shall be liable for any additional work or material, the county or political subdivision must first order the same, and the cost thereof must be agreed upon in writing and entered of record before such additional work shall apply in case of omissions, deductions or changes, and the unit prices shall be the basis of the values of such changes.

6. In case of disagreement upon the cost or price of any addition, omission or change ordered or so desired, then it is expressly agreed that the decision of the state highway engineer shall be received and accepted as fixing definitely and finally the cost of such change, and when so fixed, the county commission, township board or special road district commissioners shall enter of record such change. It shall also be provided in the contract that the contractor will furnish and promptly pay for all labor employed and materials used in the performance of such contract.

Section 229.060. Contractor to give bond.

The contractor shall enter into a bond in such sum as may be fixed by the county commission, township board or district commissioners, with some surety company authorized to do business in this state as surety thereon or other good and sufficient surety, the condition of such bond to be that the contractor will faithfully discharge his duties under the contract within the time and in the manner therein provided, and that he will furnish and promptly pay for all labor employed and materials used and equipment rented in the performance of said contract, and the state, county or political subdivision, or any laborer, materialman or other person injured by breach of such contract may sue on such bond. All such bonds when approved by the proper authorities shall be recorded upon the proper records.

Section 229.070. Contractor to report, when – payments

1.   It shall be the duty of each contractor who has entered into a contract for any road or bridge work to report in writing to the engineer in charge thereof on or before the second day of each month, setting forth in detail the amount and character of the work done under his contract during the preceding month.

2. The engineer shall carefully examine such report and shall indicate in writing attached to the report any errors therein or any explanations that he may deem necessary for the information of the county commission or other proper authorities, and if said report shall be found to be correct he shall so state and shall file same with the county clerk, clerk of the township board or district commissioner, as the case may be.

3. The county commission or other proper authorities shall examine such report, and may order such amounts paid on the contract as may be deemed safe and just, and as may be provided in the contract covering such work, but full payment for any work to be performed by contract shall not be made until the work has been completed and accepted by the county highway engineer or engineer in charge of same.

4. The county highway engineer or engineer in charge of the work shall inspect the work contracted for from time to time and make report thereon; and before any final settlement is made with any contractor the county highway engineer or engineer in charge of the work shall make a personal inspection of same, and shall make written statement under oath that he has made such inspection and that the contractor has performed his work according to contract.

Chapter 522. Actions on Bonds

Section 522.300. Suit on bond – proceedings.

Every person furnishing material or performing labor, either as an individual or as a subcontractor for any contractor, with the state, or any county, city, town, township, school or road district, where bond shall be executed as provided in section 107.170, RSMo, shall have the right to sue on such bond in the name of the state, county, city, town, township, school or road district, for his use and benefit, and in such suit the plaintiff shall file a copy of such bond, certified by the party or parties in whose charge such bond shall be, which copy shall, unless execution thereof be denied under oath, be prima facie evidence of the execution and delivery of the original; provided, however, this section and section 107.170, RSMo, shall not be taken to in any way make the state, county, city, town, township, school or road district liable to such subcontractor, materialman or laborer to any greater extent than it was liable under the law as it stood before the adoption originally of said sections.