Practical Precautions

DEADLINES YOU CANNOT AFFORD TO MISS

The Maryland Mechanic’s Law, the Maryland Little Miller Act (for state and local government projects), and the Miller Act (for federal projects) provide valuable tools to help those working on construction projects get paid. However, in order for claimants to take advantage of their rights under these laws, there are certain statutory time deadlines with which they must comply.

In Maryland, Mechanic’s Liens are obtainable against most private projects. In order to obtain a Mechanic’s Lien, a claimant who does not have a contract with the “owner” (as that   term is defined by the statute) of the project in question must send written notice to the “owner” of his intention to claim lien within 120 days from the claimant’s last day of work on the project. The notice must contain all of the statutorily required information and it must be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested or be personally delivered to the “owner” of the property (which, under some circumstances, can mean a tenant). In addition, the claimant’s lawsuit to establish a Mechanic’s Lien must be filed within 180 days from that claimant’s last work on the job. Failure to comply with either one of these deadlines will result in the claimant not being entitled to a Mechanic’s Lien.

Public projects are not subject to a Mechanic’s Lien. Rather, many of those furnishing labor and material to state and local projects where the general contract is in excess of $100,000.00 are protected by the Maryland Little Miller Act. Under the Little Miller Act, persons having a contract with a subcontractor or with a sub-subcontractor of the general contractor who furnished the labor and material payment bond on the project must send written notice of their payment bond claim to that general contractor. The notice must contain all of the statutorily required information and must be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested within 90 days of the claimant’s last work on the project. Furthermore, the payment bond claimant’s lawsuit on the payment bond must filed within one year after the owner/public body “finally accepts” the project.

Many, but not all, persons furnishing labor and material to federal projects where the general contract is in excess of $100,000.00 are protected by the Miller Act. Under the Miller Act, those furnishing labor and material to a subcontractor of the general contractor who posted the labor and material payment bond on the project must send written notice of their bond claim (containing all of the legally required information) to that contractor. The notice must be sent to the prime contractor by any means which provides proof of delivery, and the notice must be sent within 90 days of the claimant’s last day of work on the job. The claimant’s lawsuit on a Miller Act payment bond must be filed within one year from the claimant’s last day of work on the project.

A claimant’s failure to comply with any of the above-discussed deadlines, if legally required to do so, will result in their claim failing. Therefore, it is imperative for contractors to know the statutory deadlines for the Maryland Mechanic’s Law, the Little Miller Act and the Miller Act so they are never caught “snoozing” and lose valuable rights which can help them get paid for their work.

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Today’s interconnected environment requires that companies focus on cyber security as an essential ingredient to support the economy’s infrastructure and national security. On a daily basis, computer viruses, identity theft, and loss of sensitive data threaten to disrupt information and communication systems.  Maryland has recognized this need and its role in protecting our nation’s information networks and is striving to be the epicenter of the cyber world.  This includes commitments to efforts in local facilities at NSA, Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), 12 major military installations (including Fort Meade in Anne Arundel County, which is home to the Navy Fleet Cyber Command and the U.S. Cyber Command) and countless federal contractors and commercial enterprises.

Applying a multidisciplinary approach to this emerging sector of our economy, Offit Kurman has formed a practice group of attorneys focused on collaboratively serving companies that deal with   the issues arising from this rapidly growing sector.  These issues cover the gamut from protecting intellectual property innovations to providing adequate security for personal data in its possession, financial information, and sensitive client or customer information.

Drawing on the collective expertise of our attorneys in many practice groups, including Government Contracting, Business Litigation, Business Transactions, Corporate Finance, Insurance Recovery, Intellectual Property, International, Labor and Employment practice groups, Offit Kurman provides assistance to clients across a broad spectrum of cybersecurity issues including:

    • Creating security policies and corporate governance approaches
    • Ensuring compliance with the National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual (NISPOM) and IC security requirements representing applicants and employees who have been denied  security clearances or had their clearances revoked
    • Negotiating and advising on licensing and contractual obligations in handling data or outsourcing data or development to third parties
    • Navigating notice requirements once a security breach has occurred
    • Negotiating contracts to include security and data protections
    • Licensing and intellectual property protection of software advances;
    • Advising on compliance with the export controls (ITAR and EAR)
    • Navigating ecommerce rules and issues
    • Developing privacy policies
    • Assisting in audits of intellectual property assets
    • Responding to government inquiries and investigations
    • Conducting internal investigations and advising on voluntary disclosures
    • Pursuing insurance indemnification and defense costs related to security breaches and remediation
    • Legislative updates and information

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Imagine getting a call from your Project Manager telling you that your competitor was just at the worksite offering your workers jobs at a higher rate with better benefits.  Two of them walked off the job.  What rights do you have?

First, if the competitor’s agent was on a secured site, then the police should have been alerted to the trespassing.

Second, have your key employees signed a non-competition agreement that restricts them from working for your competitors for a certain period of time and within a specific geographical location?  Enforcement of a non-competition agreement can be brought against not only your former employee but also your competitor where the employee now works.

Third if the competitor’s agent interfered with the relationship between  you and your prime contractor, caused you to miss a deadline or interfered with your suppliers or labor pool, then legal action could be taken.

To learn more or to discuss whether you should have your employees sign non-competition or other restrictive agreements, please feel free to contact Laura Rubenstein at  (410) 209-6433 or  lrubenstein@offitkurman.com.


Laura L. Rubenstein is a management-side employment attorney at Offit Kurman, 300 East Lombard Street, Suite 2010, Baltimore, MD  21202, www.offitkurman.com.

 

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