We have often discussed payment and performance bonds here at Construction Law Musings, most often in the context of payment bond claims relating to federal and state-owned. construction projects. A late 2020 case out of the Eastern District of Virginia federal court examined what happens after such a claim, in this case, based upon a developer’s subdivision bonds, is made and negotiations commence between the surety and the claimant. Specifically, Fidelity & Deposit Co. of Maryland v. Ransgate Corp., et. al. looked at claims for indemnity by a surety and the principal/indemnitors in the event that the Surety settled such a claim.
In the Ramsgate case, Surety provided two separate subdivision subcontract bonds to Ramsgate. Pursuant to those bonds and the indemnity clause of its indemnity agreement, the Surety sought reimbursement of its $80,000.00 settlement payment to the local building authority that it paid to resolve what was originally a claim for over $420,000.00 by the City. The project was started in 2002 and after many years of failures to complete (according to the City of Suffolk), the City made its claim for expenses in 2017. Ramsgate claimed that it completed the subdivisions in 2003.