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What Is a Miller Act Claim?

Those unpaid for materials or labor furnished to a federal construction project may file a “Miller Act Claim,” which is the mechanics lien remedy for contractors and suppliers on a federal project. A Miller Act Claim is a bond claim against the project based upon the US Miller Act. The Act provides security to first and second-tier subcontractors, first-tier suppliers, and second-tier suppliers under contract with a first-tier subcontractor, but not those second-tier suppliers under contract with another supplier.

Will a Miller Act Claim Get Me Paid?

When properly filed, a Miller Act claim provides your company security in receiving payment, obligating the bonding company holding the Miller Act Bond to directly pay your claim. Since the bonding company has a strong contract with the prime contractor requiring indemnification, making a Miller Act Claim creates a lot of pressure on the prime contractor to resolve your payment claim.

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Easy As 1 - 2 - 3

1. Answer a few simple questions about your job and the money owed to you. This will take 10 minutes or less.
2. Your document is assembled and filed appropriately according to the requirements stipulated by the county where they project is located. Any filing fees are included in the $349.
3. You get paid. You'll have access to a copy of the claim that was filed. Then, just work out with the surety, lender, or other contractors to get paid and collect on your claim.
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5 Important Points About The Miller Act

One of the most popular posts on our blog is 5 Things To Know About The Miller Act. This post provides great content about some key elements of the Miller Act statute, which are summarized here:

ONE: PRIME CONTRACTORS HAVE NO RIGHTS
Prime contractors are required by the Miller Act to post the Miller Act bond, and subcontractors, suppliers, equipment rental companies and others in the construction industry can make claims against that bond. Since it’s the prime contractor’s bond at risk, however, prime contractors cannot make claims.

TWO: NOTICE RECOMMENDED, BUT NOT REQUIRED, FOR FIRST TIER CONTRACTORS & SUPPLIERS

Those contractors and suppliers who contract directly with the prime contractor are not technically required to submit or file a “Bond Claim” notice to preserve their rights against the bond. Instead, they need only file a timely lawsuit against the bond, which is due 1 year from the last date they furnished labor or materials. While the Bond Claim filing is not required, it’s recommended, because it opens the claims process and may result in payment without the need for litigation.

THREE: BOND CLAIM FILING OTHERWISE MANDATORY WITHIN 90 DAYS OF LAST FURNISHING
Those contractors and suppliers who contract directly with the prime contractor are not technically required to submit or file a “Bond Claim” notice to preserve their rights against the bond. Instead, they need only file a timely lawsuit against the bond, which is due 1 year from the last date they furnished labor or materials. While the Bond Claim filing is not required, it’s recommended, because it opens the claims process and may result in payment without the need for litigation.

Everyone who doesn’t contract directly with the prime contractor must file their Miller Act bond claim within 90 days of last furnishing labor or materials to the construction project. There’s no exception to this rule, and if you blow through the 90 day filing period without submitting your claim, your claim may be denied. A lawsuit is still required, like it is for 1st tier contractors and suppliers, within 1 year from last furnishing.

FOUR: THIRD TIER CONTRACTORS HAVE NO RIGHTS UNDER MILLER ACT
Suppliers to suppliers and those who contract directly with a second tier subcontractor typically do not have the right to file a Miller Act claim under the US Miller Act laws. There may, however, be some hope in making a bond claim under the terms of the Miller Act bond itself.

FIVE: YOU CAN (AND SHOULD) GET A COPY OF THE MILLER ACT BOND
If you’re furnishing labor or materials of any type to a federal construction project, you are entitled to get a copy of the Miller Act Bond furnished to you. You just need to ask by furnishing an affidavit and formal request. It’s important to get this information because you may need it to file or speed up your Miller Act claim.

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When Is a Project a Federal Project Under The Miller Act?

You’re unpaid on a construction project and now you’re trying to figure out what lien-like remedy is available to you to get your invoices paid. As discussed on this page, if you’re on a federal construction project, you can file a Miller Act Claim. But, how do you know if you’re on a qualifying federal project?

We wrote a blog post about this: Is My Project Private, Federal, State or Something Different? The easiest project type to identify is actually the federal project, as these are simply those construction projects performed on federal property. You’ll know you are working on federal property because the entity commissioning the work will be a federal entity.

Here are some common examples of federal entities that do construction projects:

  • US Army Corps of Engineers
  • US Department of Veteran Affairs
  • US Department of Defense / Military
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