The Miller Act

The Miller Act: Performance and Payment Bonds

Dolley Law, LLC is an experienced construction law firm providing legal counsel to prime contractors, subcontractors, insurance companies and surety providers in federal construction project disputes. The Miller Act is a federal law that regulates payment for work performed by contractors, subcontractors and providers of labor and materials on certain federal construction projects. Our attorneys advise clients in federal project performance and payment bond claims, disputes, and defense of claims on behalf of surety providers.

Coverage of the Miller Act

The Miller Act provides: “[b]efore any contract of more than $100,000 is awarded for the construction, alteration, or repair of any public building or public work of the Federal Government, a person must furnish to the Government the following bonds, which become binding when the contract is awarded:

  1. Performance Bond. – A performance bond with a surety satisfactory to the officer awarding the contract, and in an amount the officer considers adequate, for the protection of the Government.
  1. Payment Bond. – A payment bond with a surety satisfactory to the officer for the protection of all persons supplying labor and material in carrying out the work provided for in the contract for the use of each person. The amount of the payment bond shall equal the total amount payable by the terms of the contract unless the officer awarding the contract determines, in a writing supported by specific findings, that a payment bond in that amount is impractical, in which case the contracting officer shall set the amount of the payment bond. The amount of the payment bond shall not be less than the amount of the performance bond.

40 U.S.C. § 3131(b)(1)-(2). The Miller Act further specifies other rules, rights, and causes of action available to redress issues or disputes in connection with such bonds. See, e.g., 40 U.S.C. §§ 3131(c), 3133(a)-(b).

Our Practice

The Firm works with clients to properly respond to bond claims and avoid unnecessary liabilities, as well as make appropriate third party and subrogation claims, as necessary. Effective representation of prime contractors, subcontractors and material suppliers includes advising clients on notice and payment requirements, collection and surety law, contract termination and payment dispute counseling, construction performance issues and disputes, breach of contract analysis and potential liability and damages assessment. We understand common issues that arise in this space. For example, to establish a surety bond claim, there must be a sufficiently direct contractual relationship with the surety bondholder. In addition, there are further notice requirements that must be fulfilled to maintain a bond claim under federal law. We are available to speak directly to address and discuss these and other types of issues that arise under the Miller Act.

Contact Us

To learn more about surety law and discuss the nature and scope of your rights and duties under the Miller Act, contact Dolley Law, LLC directly at 314-645-4100 or by email at

Why Choose Us?

  • Nationally Recognized for Labor & Employment Law
  • We Uphold a Strong Standard for Professionalism
  • Serving St. Louis & Kansas City Since 2002
  • We Have Worked on Thousands of Employment Matters

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