Subcontractor Wins First Prompt Pay Trial

Kegler Brown Construction Newsletter

The case of Jerry Henry dba U.S. Roofing v. Allen Ballew General Contractor, Inc. is believed to be the first to go to trial here in Ohio under Ohio's relatively recent Prompt Payment Act which provides that a subcontractor can recover 18% interest and attorney's fees from a contractor who receives payment from the owner but fails to pass monies through to the subcontractor within 10 days after receipt.

The Prompt Payment Act was enacted through the efforts of the American Subcontractors Association and was drafted by Don Gregory of the firm.

In this case surrounding the Ft. Hayes renovation project for the City of Columbus Schools, our firm represented the subcontractor plaintiff, U.S. Roofing, who maintained it was owed $48,613.21, which had not been paid timely under the Prompt Payment Act. The general contractor defendant, Allen Ballew General Contractor, Inc., claimed it was owed approximately $65,000 from the subcontractor for delay and back charges, and that it had valid reasons for not paying the subcontractor.

After a seven day jury trial in Judge O'Grady's courtroom, the jury found in favor of the subcontractor U.S. Roofing on all issues, including that Allen Ballew had not paid timely under the Prompt Payment Act, entitling U.S. Roofing to a further award of 18% interest and attorney's fees. The general contractor later paid the judgment, plus 18% interest and attorney's fees to our subcontractor client.

The results of this case should be of great interest to contractors and subcontractors in the Ohio Construction Industry, and an inducement to pay funds timely once they are received.