Surety Law

Surety Law

Contract surety bonds are indispensable elements of the development process. Payment and performance bonds financially guarantee that specified contractors, subcontractors, laborers, and materialmen will be paid for labor and materials furnished to a project and that the project will be completed in accordance with the contract documents.

Gurley Fant attorneys have been at the forefront of surety law for decades. In our surety practice, we represent clients with payment and performance bond claims and advise sureties in pre-default investigations, default, take-over agreements, and indemnity claims.

Gurley Fant attorneys boast extensive surety litigation experience and regularly defend sureties from claims arising from the execution of performance, payment, and lien transfer bonds in negotiations, mediations, arbitrations, and litigation throughout the Southeast and Puerto Rico.  As a benefit of our construction law practice, we have achieved a high level of experience and insight into the technical aspects of the construction process, which uniquely qualifies us to counsel and protect the interests of our surety clients.

In addition, our extensive experience representing sureties provides unique and valuable insight to assist and advise non-surety clients as they navigate the complex issues arising throughout the bond claim process. Whether it is a contractor facing potential claims against their bond or obliges asserting claims under a bond, quick and immediate action is often required and Gurley Fant’s knowledge, familiarity, and long standing relationships with the individual sureties and their claims handling professional can often mean the difference between financial ruin and a successful project.

The surety lawyers at Gurley Fant are actively involved in negotiations between project owners, sureties, creditors, and financially troubled contractors during all stages of the construction process. Additionally, the Firm’s surety lawyers have experience in matters concerning contract defaults, project completion, and financing arrangements. We are readily able to identify and implement creative but practical solutions to resolve complex performance and payment bond disputes.

Litigation should not the preferred means of bond claim resolution. When construction projects or other guaranteed transactions fall apart, Gurley Fant’s surety lawyers do not rush to take the matter to the courtroom. Rather, we work with our surety clients to explore early negotiated or mediated resolutions to payment or completion demands and claims against the surety, fashioning cost-effective, real-world solutions to the problems facing the principal, obligee, and surety. Through a focused effort to resolve claims early, our surety attorneys make every effort to spare clients the high costs of pretrial litigation allowing them to avoid the even greater expense and uncertainties of trial.

As leaders in managing the complex issues facing surety clients, our surety lawyers counsel and defend sureties in negotiations, mediations, arbitrations, and when necessary, litigation in state and federal jurisdictions.

Gurley Fant also represents sureties in the pursuit of indemnification and reimbursement from the sureties’ indemnitors. Our Firm has been extremely successful in obtaining summary judgment and preliminary injunctions against corporate and individual indemnitors on behalf of our surety clients.

Gurley Fant’s surety clients span the industry, ranging from large national leaders to small regional companies. We are not only savvy investigators, astute coverage analysts, and tenacious negotiators and litigators, but are also well recognized by insurers and other attorneys as leaders in the field. The firm attorneys are active members of important industry forums, bar associations, and trade groups, including the Fidelity and Surety Law Committee of the American Bar Association and the Florida Surety Association. Whether through speaking engagements, articles in industry publications, or private seminars, Gurley Fant serves the industry by keeping surety representatives and agency personnel current on evolving industry trends and precedent.

Although our surety practice has exposed our attorneys to virtually every issue involving a surety bonds, some of the areas of expertise we offer our clients include:

  • Directing the forensic investigation of alleged defaults
  • Cure negotiations with obligees
  • Arranging for the completion of defaulted contractor scopes of work through tenders or takeovers
  • Structuring and overseeing principal financing arrangements
  • Negotiations with lenders, bankruptcy trustees and secured creditors to establish surety priorities
  • Prosecution of affirmative construction and design claims
  • Defense of extra-contractual “bad faith” claims
  • Pursuit of indemnity recovery actions

We regularly offer counsel to our surety clients regarding:

  • Bid bonds and bond form questions
  • Investigations of non-performing principals
  • Decisions to finance or complete projects, assert defenses or tender the penal sum
  • Preparation of takeover agreements
  • Negotiations with subcontractors of defaulted principals
  • Analysis of whether bond rights have been waived by principals, obligees, subcontractors, laborers or materialmen
  • Miller Act claims
  • Evaluation of principals’ affirmative construction claims
  • Settlement through alternative dispute resolution (“ADR”) proceedings, such as mediations and “mini-trials”