Prompt Payment Dispute Led To Reversal Of Fortune Against Formerly Prevailing Contractor.
On December 5, 2015, we posted on United Riggers & Erectors, Inc. v. Coast Iron & Steel, a Second District, Division 1 decision which was issued November 23, 2015 as an unpublished opinion. It reversed a prompt payment retention win by a contractor against a subcontractor, which also meant that the $150,000 fee award to contractor went POOF! under a fee-shifting statute. The appellate court construed the meaning of a good faith dispute under the prompt payment statute, determining it had to relate to the full amount of the retention rather than a mere collateral dispute—disagreeing with the Martin Brothers decision on this point. However, the subcontractor (loser at first) was the ultimate winner and could go back to seek fees against the contractor in a dramatic reversal of fortune. Although this case might be state supreme court bound based on the split of thinking on the retention issue, we can report that United Riggers was certified for publication on December 18, 2015.