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Does the Miller Act require a contractor to provide a copy of the Miller Act Claim if requested?

North Carolina

It is my understanding that the General Contractor is required to be served via Certified Mail with a copy of the Miller Act Bond Claim. Is this correct? If so, Does the Miller Act require that the General Contractor provide a copy upon request?

1 reply

Apr 16, 2019
Excellent question. When it comes to all of these bond, lien, and payment claims...the details can really matter. So it's great that you are digging into the little things about who is supposed to receive bond claims (i.e. such as a federal Miller Act Claim). You may find the other answers you need here -- Miller Act Claim FAQs.

Related to this specific question, The Miller Act requires that your claim be sent to the general contractor by certified mail, return receipt requested.

No one else is actually required to receive any Miller Act Claim filings.

However, based on the wording of your question, you may be asking something else. In your question, you refer to the "miller act claim." When I read this, I think that you are talking about a bond claim that you are making against the general contractor's bond. If that is the case, then the above information is important. To make the claim, the "Miller Act Claim" must be sent to the general contractor.

Your question has this in it, though: If so...Does the Miller Act require that the General Contractor provide a copy upon request?

Alas, this is a different question. This question is about whether general contractors must expose who they have a payment bond with. Before answering this, not that you don't need to know the bonding company to make a Miller Act Claim. It's a best practice to send a copy of a bond claim to the bonding company themselves, but it is not required. The only party who must receive the Miller Act bond claim is the general contractor. Period. Full stop.

Nevertheless, in the Miller Act Statute -- 40 USCS §3133, there are provisions that allow ANYONE who is furnishing any labor or materials to the federal job to get a copy of the bond. But, importantly: (i) it is the federal contracting agency that must provide it, not the general contractor; and (ii) there really isn't any remedy available if the contracting agency refuses or is too disorganized to handle the request.

Section 3133 specifically provides:
Right of person furnishing labor or material to copy of bond. The department secretary or agency head of the contracting agency shall furnish a certified copy of a payment bond and the contract for which it was given to any person applying for a copy who submits an affidavit that the person has supplied labor or material for work described in the contract and payment for the work has not been made or that the person is being sued on the bond.

So, in sum:

--> If you want to make a bond claim (i.e. Miller Act Claim), just send it to the GC. No one else needs to receive it.
-->If you want a copy of the bond itself, the contracting agency is the one required to provide it, but there is no enforcement mechanism.

Hope this info helps. Good luck.
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