State Laws Restricting Recovery by Unlicensed Contractors do not Apply to FEDERAL Miller Act Claims

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: read more

Basic Rule 310 Dust Control Training Now Available Online

dustThe Maricopa County Air Quality Department has just announced that it is now offering Basic Rule 310 Dust Control training classes online.  Online classes are available to those seeking new certifications and those looking to renew their certifications.

Basic Rule 310 certification is required for water truck and water-pull drivers on any site.  It is also required for site superintendents or designated on-site representatives on projects that disturb between 1 and 5 acres of surface area. read more

Arizona Loses 5,900 Construction Jobs in the Past Year

The Associated General Contractors of America reported last week that Arizona lost 5,900 construction jobs between July 2013  and July 2014.  This is surprising because, on a national level, the construction industry is growing.  Thirty-nine states, including many neighboring states, added jobs over that same period.  It is also surprising because Arizona suffered the second highest number of construction jobs lost.  Only New Jersey, which shed 8,900 jobs, lost more.

Arizona’s losses have decreased the state’s construction employment from 123,700  to 117,800 workers , or by 4.8%.  This percentage decrease is also near the worst among the states.   Only New Jersey, Mississippi, and West Virginia lost greater percentages of their construction workforces in the past 12 months. read more

9th Circuit Affirms that Miller Act 90-day Notice Period Runs from Date of Last Delivery on Open Accounts

DSC_1944In Ramona Equipment Rental, Inc. v. Carolina Casualty Ins. Co., et al., Case No. 12-55156 (June 20, 2014), the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently addressed for the first time the issue of when a 90-day Miller Act notice needs to be served for materials and/or equipment furnished on an open book account.  Consistent with decisions from the First, Fourth, and Fifth Circuits, the Ninth Circuit held “that if all the goods in a series of deliveries by a supplier on an open book account are used on the same government project, the ninety-day notice is timely as to all deliveries if it is given within ninety days from the last delivery.” read more

Change in ROC Complaint Process Leads to Fewer Contractor Citations

In September 2013, the Director of the Arizona Registrar of Contractors, William A. Mundell, announced significant changes to the agency’s complaint process.  One such change was that the ROC, rather than the complainants, would decide whether citations would issue.  In other words, the ROC now decides whether the evidence provided by complainants and gathered by investigators warrants a citation, instead of simply allowing complainants to request one.

According to Mundell, this change was necessary because citations were issued in response to 36% of the complaints filed in Arizona in the 10 years before the change.  By contrast, contractor licensing agencies in other states issue citations in response to only about 5% of complaints. read more