West Palm Beach Contractors Allege Millions in Unpaid Bills
Subcontractors who performed work on the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches say they are waiting to be paid ten months after the facility opened.
The $152 million ballpark that serves as the Florida home of the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals opened in West Palm Beach, Florida in February 2017. With spring training set to begin in February 2018, however, more than a dozen small businesses that worked on the project are still fighting to get paid in full.
Contingency-fee litigation is a boon for contractors with payment disputes.
As the payment delays drag on, some of these businesses are worried about paying their bills and going bankrupt. Lawsuits seeking payment have been filed, but a costly legal fight may be not affordable for already cash-strapped companies.
Contractors and subcontractors do not have to worry about the burden of high hourly attorney fees when they hire the Business Trial Group to handle their claim. Our experienced construction attorneys charge no up-front fees, and no fees at all unless we recover compensation on your behalf.
If you have not been paid for work you have performed, the attorneys of the Business Trial Group can help. Contact us for a free case review.
Contractors Work Tirelessly to Complete Park on Time
When work began on the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches in November 2015, there was an understanding that completing the 6,500-seat stadium with clubhouses and twelve practice fields by spring training 2017 was an ambitious goal.
Over the final four months, crews worked 20-hour shifts, sometimes seven days a week, to meet the deadline. Fifteen months after breaking ground, the ballpark opened on schedule—albeit with minor issues. But the issues were not significant enough to prevent a successful spring session that saw both clubs go on to have strong seasons, including a World Series win by the Astros.
Work is still ongoing to fix around two dozen “non-conformance” items so that a final certificate of occupancy can be granted before next year’s spring training begins. Also lingering are complaints of nonpayment stemming from the original stadium work.
“We’re Just Trying to Make a Living”
Rick Mancil says his Palm City tractor service company is owed $4 million.
“It’s just a bunch of nonsense,” said Mancil. “We’re just trying to make a living. We got the job done. Now, we have a ballclub that just won the World Series, yet they don’t want to pay the people who contributed to it. Come on, guys. What’s the problem?”
Businesses are struggling to stay afloat until getting paid for their work.
Other companies that claim they are owed money include Davco Electrical ($6 million), MIK Construction ($500,000), South Florida Grading ($200,000), Xpert Elevator ($200,000), and Sammet Pools ($80,000).
Several lawsuits have been filed against general contractor Hunt Construction Group by subcontractors and suppliers seeking payment. But some small companies say the payment delays are pushing them to the brink of going out of business. They are having to lay off workers and max out credit cards to stay afloat until getting paid. As with many small business, floating the costs of a traditional hourly attorneys fees is not affordable.
Public Projects and Payment Bonds
Public projects such as the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches must carry surety bonds that act as security for payment to subcontractors, laborers, and material suppliers in the event of the general contractor’s failure to pay these parties. Payment bonds are the public project equivalent of the lien law that allows contractors to place a lien on a property and file a foreclosure lawsuit to force the sale of the property, from which they will be paid from the proceeds.
Contractors risk throwing away their bond rights if they do not follow strict statutory bond claim requirements.
The payment bond makes the contractor and surety (the company that issues the bond) liable if payments are not properly made to subcontractors, laborers, or suppliers that perform construction work in the time and manner prescribed in the contract. Contractors who uphold their end of the contract, but do not receive payments, have a claim against the contractor and surety for the amount they are owed.
Contractors, however, risk throwing away their bond rights (i.e., their entitlement to collect hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars for completed work) if they do not follow the strict statutory requirements of bond claims. These requirements include providing the contractor and surety a written notice of non-payment no earlier than 45 days after the first furnishing of labor, services, or materials and no later than 90 days after the final furnishing.
Strict filing deadlines make it paramount to contact a construction attorney right away when dealing with a nonpayment claim.
Florida Contingency-Fee Construction Litigation
Contingency-fee litigation is invaluable for contractors that have bond claims on public projects, since it allows them to take legal action for nonpayment without incurring additional expenses at a time when they may lack the resources to pay an attorney by the hour.
The Business Trial Group’s construction litigation team is led by a Florida Bar Board Certified construction specialist and has been honored as Best Lawyers in America, Florida Super Lawyers, and Florida Legal Elite. We have recovered millions of dollars for Florida contractors and are ready to fight for you if you have not been paid.
Learn more during a no-cost and no-obligation case review