Posts Tagged ‘Mississippi’

Minor Changes To Mississippi Mechanic Lien Laws Now Effective

Since Mississippi is a very close neighbor of Louisiana, and many of our readers do construction work in both states, we have a history of posting about laws and changes in the laws of that state. Take a look at our Mississippi tag here to read these posts. This post is to alert our readers to a recent change in Mississippi’s mechanic lien laws recently signed into law by Governor Barbour (Senate Bill 2363).

The new law is discussed in more detail on another blog I publish, the Construction Lien Blog:  Mississippi Lien Law Now Allows Suit in County Court and Clarifies Statutory Lien Period.

In a nutshell, the law makes two changes:

  1. Previously, the law provided that suits to enforce liens must be filed in circuit court. The new laws amends to clarify that suit can also be filed in county court, which is a court of limited jurisdiction and can handle disputes under $200,000 (which covers most liens).
  2. It has always been clear that lien enforcement actions in Mississippi must be filed within 1 year of when a debt became due, but because of the complexities of construction debts, this didn’t make things very clear at all. The new law clarifies when the 1 year period begins.

Special thanks to Robert Wise of Sharpe & Wise for calling our attention to this law change. He and his wife, Suzanne Sharpe, worked on pushing it through the legislative process.

Posted in:     Mechanics Lien  /  Tags: , , , ,   /   Leave a comment

New Mississippi Resident Preference Law Is Important for Louisiana Contractors Crossing Border

Earlier this year, Mississippi passed into law Senate Bill 2370, amending the resident preference statute for Mississippi public works projects:  Miss. Code Ann. § 31-3-21(3).   The bill is extremely important to Louisiana contractors who do (are want to do) business on public projects in Mississippi.  If you fail to abide, you’re bid will be considered non-responsive.

What Is A “Resident Preference Statute?”

So, you may be wondering…what in the world is a “resident preference statute?”

As we live in a country of independent states, our nation has a rich history of state governments and trade associations fighting very hard to protect the jobs within their state.   And how do you protect those jobs?   You restrict out-of-state folks from coming in and taking those jobs.

One result of this tendency are “resident preference statutes” like they have in Mississippi.   The statute does not prevent out-of-state contractors from bidding on public projects in Mississippi (the Constitution doesn’t allow that), but it does allow the state to give a slight preference to Mississippi contractors.

KeanMiller’s Louisiana Law Blog has a great summary on how these preference statutes work with the following:

Each state has different resident bidder preference laws. Some states require either that a non-resident’s bid amount be reduced by a certain percentage or that a resident’s bid be increased by a certain percentage if a non-resident bidder also bids on the project. Other states require that a resident bidder’s amount be increased only to the same percentage as allowed in a non-resident’s state, if a non-resident bids on the contract. Still other states have no bidder preference laws at all.

What Changed in Mississippi?

Mississippi’s new law only amends a statute that already exists, it doesn’t create a new concept for public bidders.   Previously, it was “mandatory” that a non-resident bidder attach to its bid a copy of their state’s bidder preference laws.    The State of Mississippi wanted to know how your state would treat a Mississippi contractor, so it can determine how to treat you.

The problem was an opinion from the Mississippi Attorney General that a failure to provide the attachment wasn’t enough to reject the out-of-state bid.

The amendment changes that.  The new language is quite specific about the mandatory nature of the requirement, and the consequence for failing to attach your state’s preference laws to the bid:

When a nonresident contractor submits a bid for a public project, he shall attach thereto a copy of his resident state’s current law pertaining to such state’s treatment of nonresident contractors. Any bid submitted by a nonresident contractor which does not include the nonresident contractor’s current state law shall be rejected and not considered for award.

The changes are now in effect, and took effect on July 1, 2010.

Good Resource:    Blog Post on Construction Law Toolbox

Where Do I Find Louisiana’s Law?

Now that you know that the Louisiana preference law must be attached, you’re now likely wondering…where do I find the Louisiana preference law?

It’s really best to consult with a Louisiana attorney who can review the bid materials to ensure that all applicable preference laws are attached.  State laws can be complex, and there may be a preference law for various components of your project.

With that said, here are the basic statutes related to Louisiana’s residence preferences on public works project.   You can click on the statute link to go to the legislature’s website with full text of the statute:

La. R.S. 38:2225: This statute is referred to as providing reciprocal preference.   It requires that if an out-of-state bidder is low, a Louisiana bidder maybe given the job if the home state of the out-of-state bidder gives him a preference in his own state, and the Louisiana bidder is within the margin of that state’s preference for its own state bidders.   (Summary complements of Richard McGimsey, Assistant Attorney General for Louisiana Department of Justice, in “Understanding The Public Bid Law” workshop).

La. R.S. 38:2251:   Relates to preferences for Louisiana products….not Louisiana vendors!   This statute is a bit more complex to summarize here, but you can click on the link and read all the juicy details.

Posted in:     Bidding, Law Changes & Updates, State & Federal Contracting  /  Tags: , , , , , , ,   /   Leave a comment

ALERT: Mississippi Alters Lien Law to Welcome Rental Industry

The Construction Lien Blog recently posted an alert on the Mississippi Lien Laws, which appears relevant to our Louisiana readers who do construction work in that state.

The Mississippi lien statutes haven’t been significantly changed since 1918. As change is the only constant in this world, on March 17, 2010, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour signed SB 2800 into law, amending the lien laws to include rental and lease equipment and suppliers as a class of parties protected by the state’s statutory lien scheme.

Read a full-text of Senate Bill 2800 on the Construction Lien Blog here.

The legislation amends sections 85-7-131, 135, 181, 185 and 189 of the 1972 Mississippi Code to include equipment renters and suppliers in the class of parties who can file construction liens or stop notices (as the case may be). Previously, these parties did not have any lien rights in the state.

This article was originally posted on Zlien’s topic-specific Construction Lien Blog.

Posted in:     Around The Web, Mechanics Lien  /  Tags: , ,   /   Leave a comment

Great Resources for Mississippi Construction Law

This afternoon, I was reading a post on Bowie & Jenson’s Construction Law Forum blog about problems that may arise when using the same subcontract in more than one state. The case discussed in the blog post regarding the differences in interpretation of a pay when paid clause in Maryland and Virginia. While we don’t practice in either of those states, we very frequently encounter clients who are working across borders.

When it comes to Louisiana construction companies, they are frequently working in Mississippi.

Out of curiosity, I performed a little research on the treatment of pay when paid clauses in Mississippi to compare it with Louisiana’s treatment of the same. Immediately I went to my two favorite resources for Mississippi Construction Law, and figured our readers could benefit from these two resources and there’s no reason to keep them a secret. So here goes:

Robert Wise
While Robert doesn’t run a construction law blog, he has a bunch of great published articles available for download on his website. Take some of these as examples:

  • Mississippi Construction Lien, Bond, Stop Notice, Open Account & Contractor Prompt Payment Claims (pdf)
  • Mississippi Construction Bid Mistakes (pdf)
  • Mississippi Construction Supplier’s Collection Law Tool Kit (pdf)

Construction Law Toolbox Blog
The Construction Law Toolbox blog is published by Mississippi law firm Robinson, Biggs, Ingram, Solop & Farris, PLLC. The blog provides consistent quality posts about construction law issues that affect those performing construction work in Mississippi. Here are some example posts:

  • Do you have coverage under your commercial general liability policy for defective subcontractor construction? (link)
  • He who hesitates is lost – Protecting Payment Rights in Mississippi (link)
  • Can I Rely on my Subcontractor’s Certificate of Insurance? (link)

Oh, and the result of my pay when paid clause research, thanks to help from Mr. Wise is this:

In Louisiana, “pay when paid” requires payment within a reasonable time, regardless of whether payment was ever received from the property owner. “Pay if paid” clauses, on the other hand, makes payment from the owner an absolute condition precent to payment further down the contracting chain.

In Mississippi, it doesn’t seem to matter how it’s written: pay if paid, pay when paid, etc. The result is the same: payment is due within a reasonable time, regardless of whether payment was ever received from the property owner.

This article was originally posted on Wolfe Law Group’s topic-specific Louisiana Construction Law Blog.

Posted in:     Around The Web, Payment Requirements  /  Tags: , , , , ,   /   Leave a comment