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Can you file a miller act bond claim for project management services?

CaliforniaBond ClaimsMiller Act

We provided project management services for a federal project and have a past-due unpaid balance. Most of the work done by a PM is not onsite, but is still done for a federal project. Can we file a bond claim for the unpaid amount or is not covered b/c the services were not performed onsite?

1 reply

May 18, 2018
That's a really good question - so much so that we put out an entire post on the subject just last year (What Qualifies As Labor Under The Miller Act?). Under the Miller Act, parties who perform labor for federal construction projects are entitled to make a claim on the GC's payment bond. What qualifies as "labor" under the Miller Act can be tricky, though. As mentioned in the above-linked article, when this has been challenged in court, courts seem to find that project management work doesn't typically suffice for a Miller Act bond claim unless that work was on site and/or includes some physical component. However, it's definitely not a black-and-white legal principle, and a claimant could argue the issue, if it comes to that. Note, though, that sending a Miller Act notice to the prime contractor and their surety can certainly be done - the initial steps for taking a Miller Act claim don't necessarily include filing suit. Further, such a claim may even be effective in spurring payment. But, if litigation becomes necessary, a claimant providing management services could have an uphill battle. Finally, keep in mind that the mere threat of making a bond claim is often enough to spur payment. Plus, other options for recovery may be available.
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