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Home>Levelset Community>Legal Help>I have filed against the bond on a on our order number #2333393 to Cooley Construction. I have not heard from the contractor after several attempts to get payment. The City still owes the GC some retainage. Should I ask for a joint check?

I have filed against the bond on a on our order number #2333393 to Cooley Construction. I have not heard from the contractor after several attempts to get payment. The City still owes the GC some retainage. Should I ask for a joint check?

OklahomaBond ClaimsJoint ChecksRecovery Options

I am approaching a time frame when the GC will be paid in full and the City will have no recourse to help me. I'm looking for additional pressure to put on the GC during this time frame.

1 reply

May 7, 2019
I'm sorry to hear you've had payment trouble - especially after already making a claim against the bond. In Oklahoma, bond claims must be sent to the general contractor as well as the surety. So, if the surety hasn't responded to a bond claim that's been made, it's typically a good idea to reach out to the surety as well with inquiries about the payment bond claim. Generally, when a bond claim is made, a surety will initiate an investigation into the alleged debt - and checking in on that investigation, or to be sure that it was even initiated, might be a good first step. Further, it's also generally a good idea to make sure the contracting public entity is aware of the nonpayment. By informing them of payment issues caused by a general contractor, it might help to get some extra eyes on the issue and extra pressure on the general contractor - before they're paid in full. Once payments are fully made to the GC, the only recourse might be legal action (against the GC or the bond). As mentioned above, requesting the use of joint checks might also be another option. Though, a public entity might not have an awful lot of incentive to agree to use joint checks. Regardless, at least requesting the use of joint checks would serve as a potential solution. If it doesn't seem like a GC or their surety is taking a payment claim seriously, it might be beneficial to send a warning or threat that the bond claim will be enforced. No surety or GC wants to face legal action on a bond claim, so when a claimant shows them that nonpayment won't be tolerated, they might be more inclined to talk payment. Further, making additional legal threats - such as under the Oklahoma prompt payment laws, retainage laws, or threatening a claim for breach of contract - might also be useful to force a GC's hand. But, if push comes to shove, Oklahoma bond claimants should keep an eye on the deadline to enforce their bond claims. Once a bond claim is filed, if payment still hasn't come and the claimant intends to file suit against the bond, that suit must be initiated within 1 year from their last furnishing date. Though, obviously, a resolution to payment issues would hopefully come well before that time - plus, since that's merely a deadline, suit could be filed much earlier, if necessary. For more background on Oklahoma bond claims and their requirements, this resource should be helpful: Oklahoma Bond Claim Overview.
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