Monday, May 10, 2010

Legislation Introduced to Prohibit Pay-When-Paid Clauses on Michigan Public Projects

On May 6, 2010, Senators Michael Switalski (D. Roseville)  and Dennis Olshove (D. Warren) introduced S.B. 1319, which would prohibit a surety’s reliance on a “pay-when-paid” clause in defense of payment bond claim. 

Specifically, S.B. 1319 would amend Section 3 of the Public works bond statute (MCL 129.201, et seq) by adding the following prohibition:
(2) A payment bond for a contract executed on or after the effective date of the amendatory act that added this subsection shall not contain any provision that conditions the payment of the subcontractor upon the receipt by the contractor of its money from the governmental unit.
S.B. 1319 would also add a fee-shifting, and interest provision in Section 7 for the prevailing party:
(6) In any action brought under this section, the prevailing party is entitled to recover from the nonprevailing party the reasonable costs and attorney fees incurred in the action. If, in such an action, the finder of fact determines that there was no good faith basis for the nonpayment of the amount sought by the claimant, the claimant is entitled to recover interest at the rate of 12% per annum on the amount found to be due by the finder of fact from the date that payment was due until fully paid.
Note: Michigan is among a small minority of states that uphold the use of "pay-when-paid" or so-called "pay-if-paid" clauses. The controlling case is  Berkel & Co v Christman Co, 210 Mich App 416 (1995).

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