(a) The aggregate liability of a surety on a claim for wages and fringe benefits brought against a bond required by this article, other than a bond required by Section 7071.8, shall not exceed the sum of four thousand dollars ($4,000). If a bond required by this article is insufficient to pay all claims in full, the sum of the bond shall be distributed to all claimants in proportion to the amount of their respective claims.
(b) No license may be renewed, reissued, or reinstated while a judgment or admitted claim in excess of the amount of the bond remains unsatisfied.
(c) Except for claims covered by subdivision (d), any action against a bond required under this article, excluding the judgment bond specified under Section 7071.17, shall be brought in accordance with the following:
(1) Within two years after the expiration of the license period during which the act or omission occurred. The provisions of this paragraph shall be applicable only if the license has not been inactivated, canceled, or revoked during the license period for which the bond was posted and accepted by the registrar as specified under Section 7071.7.
(2) If the license has been inactivated, canceled, or revoked, an action shall be brought within two years of the date the license of the active licensee would have expired had the license not been inactivated, canceled, or revoked. For the provisions of this paragraph to be applicable, the act or omission for which the action is filed must have occurred prior to the date the license was inactivated, canceled, or revoked.
(3) An action against a disciplinary bond filed by an active licensee pursuant to Section 7071.8 shall be brought in accordance with the provisions of paragraph (1) or (2), as applicable, or within two years after the last date for which a disciplinary bond filed pursuant to Section 7071.8 was required, whichever date is first.
(d) A claim to recover wages or fringe benefits shall be brought within six months from the date that the wage or fringe benefit delinquencies were discovered, but in no event shall a civil action thereon be brought later than two years from the date the wage or fringe benefit contributions were due.
(e) Whenever the surety makes payment on a claim against a bond required by this article, whether or not payment is made through a court action or otherwise, the surety shall, within 30 days of the payment, provide notice to the registrar. The notice required by this subdivision shall provide the following information by declaration on a form prescribed by the registrar:
(1) The name and license number of the contractor.
(2) The surety bond number.
(3) The amount of payment.
(4) The statutory basis upon which the claim is made.
(5) The names of the person or persons to whom payments have been made.
(6) Whether or not the payments were the result of a good faith action by the surety.
The notice shall also clearly indicate whether or not the licensee filed a protest in accordance with this section.
(f) Prior to the settlement of a claim through a good faith payment by the surety, a licensee shall have not less than 15 days in which to provide a written protest. This protest shall instruct the surety not to make payment from the bond on the licensee’s account upon the specific grounds that the claim is opposed by the licensee, and provide the surety a specific and reasonable basis for the licensee’s opposition to payment.
(1) Whenever a licensee files a protest in accordance with this subdivision, the board shall investigate the matter and file disciplinary action as set forth under this chapter if there is evidence that the surety has sustained a loss as the result of a good faith payment made for the purpose of mitigating any damages incurred by any person or entity covered under Section 7071.5.
(2) A licensee that fails to file a protest as specified in this subdivision shall have 90 days from the date of notification by the board to submit proof of payment of the actual amount owed to the surety and, if applicable, proof of payment of any judgment or admitted claim in excess of the amount of the bond or, by operation of law, the license shall be suspended at the end of the 90 days. A license suspension pursuant to this subdivision shall be disclosed indefinitely as a failure to settle outstanding final liabilities in violation of this chapter. The disclosure specified by this subdivision shall also be applicable to all licenses covered by the provisions of subdivision (g).
(g) During any period in which a surety remains unreimbursed for a loss or expense sustained on a bond issued pursuant to this article, the license for which the bond was issued, and any other license on which any member of the licensee’s personnel of record has also been listed, may not be renewed, reissued, or reinstated while the licensee was subject to suspension or disciplinary action under this section.
(h) The licensee may provide the board with a notarized copy of an accord, reached with the surety to satisfy the debt in lieu of full payment. By operation of law, failure to abide by the accord shall result in the automatic suspension of a license to which this section applies. A license that is suspended for failure to abide by the accord may only be renewed or reinstated when proof of satisfaction of all debts is made.
(i) Legal fees may not be charged against the bond by the board.
(Amended by Stats. 2010, Ch. 698, Sec. 17. (SB 392) Effective January 1, 2011.)
Last modified: October 25, 2018