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Miller Act Claims: Compliance With the Bond, Prosecution, and Defense Strategies for General Contractors and Subs

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

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Recorded event now available

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This CLE webinar will discuss strategies for litigating federal and state-level Miller Act claims. The panel will offer guidance based on the decision in the K-Con case and the Christian doctrine, 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.

These protections offer relief in the event of nonpayment, but 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. Additionally, a recent case established that the Christian doctrine applies to government construction contracts as a matter of law or public policy, even if not explicitly referenced or cited within the written agreement.

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 subcontractors 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


Cahalan, Scott
Scott D. Cahalan

Smith Gambrell & Russell

Mr. Cahalan has substantial experience representing owners, contractors, subcontractors, engineers, architects,...  |  Read More

Gordon, Elizabeth
Elizabeth L. Gordon

Senior Counsel
Irwin Fritchie Urquhart Moore & Daniels

Ms. Gordon concentrates her practice in the areas of construction/surety law and commercial litigation. She has...  |  Read More

Watkins, Lindsay
Lindsay Watkins

Ahlers Cressman & Sleight

Ms. Watkins' practice involves working with general contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers in all aspects of...  |  Read More

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