Manier & Herod maintains one of the most prominent and far reaching construction and commercial surety law practices in the United States. The firm’s surety law group includes surety lawyers who are licensed to practice in Arkansas, Kentucky, Ohio, New York, North Carolina, Michigan, Missouri, Tennessee, and Texas. The firm’s surety lawyers have represented sureties with various issues and disputes arising in virtually every state in the United States.
The firm’s surety lawyers routinely assist and advise their surety clients during the underwriting stage, which often includes the drafting and/or revision of the surety’s bond forms and indemnity agreements. The firm’s surety lawyers are also often asked to advise their surety clients about the special risks and exposure that may arise under particular bond forms and bonded contracts that are encountered during the underwriting process.
In the construction context, the firm’s surety lawyers routinely assist and advise their clients during the development of loss avoidance and mitigation strategies when questions arise as to whether the contractor will be able and/or permitted to perform its bonded obligations. The firm’s surety lawyers have vast experience with threats to the contractor’s completion of its bonded obligations arising from disputes with the owner/obligee, design/engineering issues, unforeseen/changed conditions, subcontractor performance issues, the contractor’s financial problems, etc. The firm’s surety lawyers are routinely engaged in negotiations with federal, state, and private owners/obligees during all stages of the construction process.
When potential default/termination scenarios arise, the firm’s surety lawyers are often requested to assist and advise their surety clients as to the pros and cons of financing the contractor, taking over and completing the contractor’s bonded obligations, tendering a new contractor to complete the bonded obligations, consenting to the owner/obligee’s completion of the bonded obligations, pursuing a settlement or “buy back” of the bond, or denying the claim at issue. During that process, the firm’s surety lawyers are often requested to assist and advise their surety clients regarding enforcement of their contractual and common law rights against the contractor and any indemnitors. In addition to their vast experience in all facets of surety law, the firm’s surety lawyers possess the construction, accounting, financial, and bankruptcy experience to implement any loss avoidance and mitigation strategy that may be available to their surety clients. When contractors seek bankruptcy protection, the firm’s surety lawyers often assist their surety clients in pre-petition and post-petition negotiations of reorganization plans, conflicts regarding unpaid proceeds on bonded contract, disputes relating to assumption/completion of bonded obligations, and virtually any other issue that may arise in the bankruptcy context.
When disputes cannot be resolved by agreement, the firm’s surety lawyers regularly represent their surety clients in litigation, arbitration, and various other forms of formal dispute resolution. The firm’s surety lawyers have litigated/arbitrated bond claims against sureties, sureties’ claims against the contractor and indemnitors, sureties’ pursuit of bonded contract proceeds from owners/obligees, creditors, bankruptcy trustees, and other third parties, and sureties’ pursuit of affirmative claims against owners/obligees, architect/engineers, accountants, and other third parties.
The firm’s surety lawyers frequently publish and lecture on all aspects of surety law. The firm’s surety lawyers are actively involved as members, officers, and directors of the National Bond Claims Association, Surety Claims Institute, Southern Surety & Fidelity Claims Association, Mid-South Commercial Law Institute, Fidelity and Surety Law Section of the American Bar Association, and International Association of Defense Counsel (Fidelity & Surety Law Committee). The firm’s surety lawyers also enjoy to participate in the training and education of new surety professionals regarding various facets of surety law, both while assisting in the investigation/resolution of claims and while conducting in-house seminars for their surety clients.