How would you feel if you performed thousands of dollars of work on a construction project and were then told you would not be paid anything? That is exactly what has happened with a recent decision from the Mississippi Court of Appeals. The Court’s opinion makes it absolutely clear that any contract entered into in violation of Miss. Code Ann. §31-3-15 is null and void. [click here for decision] This means if a contractor does not have a Certificate of Responsibility (“COR”) from the Mississippi State Board of Contractors for work in excess of $50,000 on a private or public project, the contract is null and void and the contractor is not entitled to ANY compensation under ANY legal theory if it performed work without the appropriate COR.
In this particular case, the subcontractor did not have a COR but entered into a contract with the prime contractor. When the subcontractor sued for payment, the prime contractor claimed the subcontract was null and void and refused to pay the subcontractor. The trial court agreed and the Mississippi Court of Appeals affirmed the decision.
This decision is an important reminder for prime contractors and subcontractors at all tiers to make sure that you have the required COR for the work to be performed. If there is any doubt, contractors should contact the Mississippi State Board of Contractors at (601) 354-6161, (808) 880-6161 or visit their website at www.msboc.us.