I completed my work on a public works project for a General Contractor over 120 days ago. I have not yet been paid any money at all for my work. The contractor keeps blowing us off and not responding to our emails and correspondence. They will not tell us if they have been paid or have even billed for our portionof work. In their mind, it "none of our business". We made contact with the owner (city) trying to find out if the project had been paid out. The General Contractor finally calls us only to yell at us for going "behind his back" by talking directly to the owner because that action "violates our contract". Is there a provision in California construction law that allows me to contact the owner (city) directly when I have not been paid for my work and the General Contractor does not respond to email or phone calls?
2 Answers from Attorneys
There is no law or statute that allows that. But there is also no statute or law that prohibits it. You are free to contact the city to inquire about the status of payment.
However, there may be some provision in your contract with the general contractor that prohibits that. So you need to check your contract.
You may have stop notice claims available, but to determine that would require more information. Be careful that you don't lose the right to bring a claim because you failed to meet the time deadlines for such claims.
If the amount involved is substantial, you may want to speak with a construction attorney.
You can submit a request under the Freedom of Information Act to obtain the records relating to what payments have been made. But as pointed out, time may be a factor and you might want to consider moving on this quickly while records responsive to such a request are pending.