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How do i get the information of when the last payment was made to the principal contractor/what constitutes an acknowledgement of Completion and acceptance of a job

MichiganBond ClaimsLien Deadlines

We have filed a lien against a company and are deciding how to proceed, but based on deadlines to enforce a bond claim i need the two questions answered.

1 reply

Apr 8, 2019
That's an interesting question. It sounds like you're asking about the deadline to enforce a bond claim by filing suit - so I'll answer the question based on that assumption. If you were asking about a mechanics lien claim: the deadline to enforce a lien against real property is 1 year from the date the mechanics lien was recorded. But, the deadline for enforcing a bond claim is a little more complex. As you'd mentioned, the deadline to enforce a Michigan bond claim is a little more complicated. For highway projects, suit may be filed any time within 1 year of completion and final acceptance of the project. For non-highway projects, suit must be filed within a year from final payment to the prime contractor. As for the completion/acceptance date - this date might be signified by something like a Certificate of Occupancy or a Certificate of Substantial Completion might serve to inform a subcontractor or supplier of when the completion or final acceptance of the project actually occurred - and asking the public entity or the prime contractor if and when such a certificate was issued might help discover when the actual acceptance of the project occurred. But, more generally, whenever the project was substantially completed will likely be a conservative date from which an enforcement deadline might be calculated. Alternatively, as long as the claimant isn't one of the very last parties on the job, basing the deadline off the claimant's last furnishing date might provide an even-more-conservative deadline. As for the date that a contractor received final payment - this might be harder to come by. One option to try and track down the date when the prime contractor received final payment might be to base that off of when final retainage was released - generally, a contractor will hold onto retainage until final payment is made on the project. Of course, this won't provide an exact date - but Michigan requires that retainage be released to a prime contractor once 94% of the project is complete, and then the prime contractor will generally release retainage shortly after that. Thus, the release of retainage could provide a ballpark estimate (and talking to other subs and trades on the job about when they received retainage could help, too). Further, requesting that information - when final payment was made - from the public entity might help, too. A contractor might not be willing to divulge when they received final payment, but the public entity might be more forthcoming with that info - especially where the circumstances of the inquiry are laid out, as well as the contractor's failure to see too it that everyone was paid. But, recall that this is merely a deadline to enforce a bond claim. Meaning, a claimant can (and likely, to some degree, should) plan on enforcing their claim safely before the deadline arises. For more background on bond claims in Michigan, this resource should be helpful: Michigan Public Project Overview.
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