Government projects are different from regular construction projects in that they must function differently because the client is the state. Because of this, certain procedures and processes must function in a special way, or the project may not be able to deliver the quality of work and the type of protection needed for construction companies. The Miller Act is designed to help both construction companies and the government get the level of performance that they need. In this article, a Chicago license defense lawyer discusses what you should know about a Miller Act notice.
What Is the Miller Act?
The Miller Act requires that prime contractors on any government construction projects post a bond or other insurance guarantee stating that they will perform the project to the best of their ability and that the project will complete as promised. If a contractor violates the law, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) can depose them and order them to correct their behavior. OSC is the chief enforcement arm of the Federal Government’s construction regulations and orders, which are also enforced by state agencies such as the Department of Labor.
The United States Department of Labor’s Office of Special Counsel (OSC) is a powerful government agency with a long list of construction project regulations to enforce. To start with, filing a Miller Act claim is not an easy task, even if you hire a qualified Chicago contractor attorney. You need to show that something was wrong on the construction site and that the government’s construction regulations were violated in some way. In order to do this, you have to be able to show why the government’s construction rules were broken and that those rules were intended to actually harm the public instead of helping it.
For example, you can argue that a rule requiring a certain number of workers on any job site violates the right to work for an employer, whether you are a government employee or not. On the other hand, what if there is a rule under the Miller Act that violates OSHA guidelines? These would clearly be considered harmful occupational health practices, which are covered by two separate but equal laws — OSHA regulations and the Miller Act.
How to Make a Miller Act Payment Claim
A Miller Act claim is a type of claim filed on behalf of a prime contractor or applicable subcontractors that have provided work or materials on a federal project and have not been paid. In order to file this type of claim, you must have provided work in the past 90 days in relation to a government project. In addition, you need to have all of the applicable paperwork relating to your claim in order to be able to proceed with the claims.
A lower-tier contractor may bring a construction-related claim against the general contractor and each bond. Basically, this is a claim that targets a bond. In order for these claims to go forward in court, the claims must meet the statute of limitations in your state. For example, construction claims must be filed within two years of the date of the accident or three years after the date of the accident if filing from out of state.
You can file a claim on your own, but it is much more expedient to hire a Chicago contractor attorney who specializes in construction law to represent your best interests in this matter. An experienced attorney will work to obtain an accurate assessment of your claim, advise you on the proper forms to file, gather discovery and other information that may be useful in your case; represent you in court proceedings, provide counsel and representation in arbitration, and advise you on your rights and any limitations regarding your claim. In short, an experienced attorney is the best way to ensure that you receive just compensation for your injuries and for the harms caused to your property during the construction process.
Related: The Miller Act: Making a Claim
Work With a Lawyer
Before you become too involved in a project that involves Miller Act notices, discuss your situation with a lawyer. A Chicago bid protest attorney can help you understand how the Miller Act affects your projects. It is not uncommon for construction companies to seek legal guidance when working on specific projects. There are many situations where legal practices can have a major effect on the outcome of a project, so having a legal team gives you the resources that you need to protect yourself.
Discuss your case with a lawyer if you are unsure of how the Miller Act works and what you need to do to comply. If you have questions about legal processes in the construction industry, contact a Chicago construction lien attorney from Cotney Construction Law.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.