As matter of first impression, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently held in Technica LLC ex rel. U.S. v. Carolina Cas. Ins. Co., 749 F.3d 1149 (9th Cir. 2014) that state laws preventing unlicensed contractors from recovering for unpaid work do not apply to actions under the federal Miller Act.
In Technica, a sub-subcontractor on a federal project in California filed suit for payment under the Miller Act against the general contractor and its surety. The trial court concluded that because the sub-subcontractor was not a licensed contractor as required by California law, it was precluded from pursuing its Miller Act claim for payment. The particular licensing statute at issue in Technica was California Business and Professions Code § 7031(a), which provides in part that: