Litigating Miller Act Claims: Prosecution and Defense Strategies for General Contractors and Subs

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A

Conducted on Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Recorded event now available

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Program Materials

This CLE webinar will discuss strategies for litigating federal and state-level Miller Act claims. The panel will offer guidance on current case law, best practices in pursuing and defending against violations, and preemptive measures builders, subcontractors and suppliers can employ to prevent exposure and mitigate potential losses.


The Miller Act (40 U.S.C. § 3131 et seq.) and its various state law equivalents require general contractors entering into public building or public works contracts with the government to furnish a payment bond in an amount equal to the contract price. The bond guarantees payment to subcontractors and vendors supplying labor and materials to contractors or subcontractors engaged in the construction.

While these protections offer relief in the event of nonpayment, pursuing claims can be challenging because they often arise while the work is ongoing and are subject to strict restraints of notice and timing. Claims may also be subject to contractual preconditions that preclude direct actions against the government.

Practitioners representing subcontractors and vendors for nonpayment or additional monies for expanded scopes of work or changed conditions must be familiar with claim-limiting strategies employed by general contractors and the impact of other relief mechanisms like the Contracts Disputes Act.

For counsel representing general contractors, to what extent can their clients rely on contractual protections like mandatory pass-through provisions and contingent payment clauses to limit their exposure and mitigate potential losses for claims asserted by subs and materialmen.

Listen as our distinguished panel of construction lawyers discusses strategies for successfully pursuing and defending Miller Act claims and offers critical guidance on preemptive measures parties can take to prevent claims from arising.



  1. Overview of Miller Act
    1. Qualifying contracts
    2. Bonding requirements
    3. Who is protected?
  2. Remedies for nonpayment
    1. Material suppliers
    2. Subcontractors
  3. The claims process
    1. General contractor perspectives
    2. Subcontractor perspectives
    3. Supplier perspectives


The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • Balancing statutory requirements and contract provisions when pursuing recovery for nonpayment
  • Addressing “slow pay” scenarios where trailing accounts payable extend beyond 90 days
  • Managing statute of limitations in the face of non-binding ADR requirements


Burwood, Jonathan
Jonathan C. Burwood

Watt Tieder Hoffar & Fitzgerald

Mr. Burwood focuses his practice primarily in the areas of surety bond, construction, environmental, and commercial...  |  Read More

Colon, Y. Lisa
Y. Lisa Colon

Smith Currie & Hancock

Ms. Colon represents owners, contractors and subcontractors, design professionals, and sureties in public and private...  |  Read More

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