In a recently issued decision, the Supreme Court of Connecticut in Electrical Contractors Inc. v. Insurance Co. of the State of Pennsylvania, 314 Conn. 749 (2014) (ECI), rejected a payment bond claimant’s efforts to read an implied default provision into the language of the state’s Little Miller Act. The claimant argued that a surety that fails to pay or deny a bond claim within the 90-day response period prescribed by the statute, Connecticut General Statutes § 49-42, should automatically be liable, by default, for the entire amount claimed due.
This proposed default provision is reminiscent of the harsh penalty imposed by the court in the now infamous case of National Union Fire Insurance Co. of Pittsburg v. Wadsworth Golf Construction Co. of the Midwest, 863 A.2d 347 (Md. Ct. Spec. App. 2004), aff’d sub nom. National Union Fire Insurance Co. of Pittsburgh v. David A. Bramble, Inc., 879 A.2d 101 (Md. 2005) (Bramble), where Maryland’s highest court held that a surety that failed to pay or deny a payment bond claim on a private project within the 45-day period set forth in the AIA A312-1984 payment bond was deprived of its defenses to the bond claim and automatically liable for the entire amount claimed due.