Illinois Surety Co. v. Peeler,
240 U.S. 214 (1916)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Illinois Surety Co. v. Peeler, 240 U.S. 214 (1916)

Illinois Surety Co. v. Peeler

No. 176

Argued January 14, 1916

Decided February 21, 1916

240 U.S. 214


Final settlement of a contractor's account within the meaning of the Act of August 13, 1894, c. 280, 28 Stat. 278, as amended February 24, 1905, c. 778, 33 Stat. 811, is not when the final payment is made, but is the final administrative determination by the proper authority of the amount due; in this case, held that a suit by a subcontractor against the surety commenced six months after date of such determination, but less than six months after payment, was not prematurely brought, no action having been brought meanwhile by the United States.

Where the action on the contractor's bond was brought within the proper time, an amendment made after the expiration of such time, which does not set up a new or different cause of action, but merely corrects a defective statement, may be allowed. Texas Cement Co. v. McCord, 233 U. S. 157.

The contested liability of a surety on a contractor's bond is not to be determined in equity; the action under the Act of 1894 as amended in 1905 is one at law.

If the surety does not contest, but pays into court the full amount of liability, discharging all liability as provided by the statute, the proceeding is simply one for distribution of a fund in court.

Page 240 U. S. 215

Where a sub-contractor was not one of the original plaintiffs and there was no intervention on its behalf, held that a judgment could not be rendered in its favor more than a year after final settlement of the contractor's claim; nor does the fact that one claiming, but not proving such claim, to be its assignee was made a party plaintiff amount to a sufficient and timely filing of the claim of such a subcontractor.

215 F. 334 modified and affirmed.

The facts, which involve the construction of the Materialmen's Acts of 1894 and 1905 and the rights of subcontractors thereunder, are stated in the opinion.

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