No Unjust Enrichment Claim Against Public Owner

Kegler Brown Construction Newsletter

In a decision that should come as no surprise, the Ohio Court of Claims has ruled that a subcontractor cannot recover from the State or a university on an unjust enrichment claim when the State paid the contractor for the subcontractor's work and the contractor subsequently goes bankrupt. Mandell-Vasquez, Inc. v. Univ. of Toledo (1993), 67 Ohio Misc.2d 24.

The Court ruled that the subcontractor's remedies were limited to a mechanic's lien against the public funds and a claim against the statutory payment bond. This case reinforces the need to properly perfect lien and bond rights on public projects in the event of non-payment by the prime contractor.