Clifford F. MacEvoy Company v. United States

322 U.S. 102 (1944)

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Clifford F. MacEvoy Company v. United States

United States Supreme Court
322 U.S. 102 (1944)

  • Written by Liz Nakamura, JD

Facts

Clifford F. MacEvoy Company (MacEvoy) (plaintiff) entered into a contract with the United States (defendant) to construct dwelling units for a defense housing project. As required by the Miller Act, MacEvoy executed a payment bond, which is a type of surety bond, with Aetna Casualty and Surety Company (Aetna) acting as surety. MacEvoy purchased building materials from James H. Miller & Company (Miller). Miller did not agree to perform, and did not actually perform, any of the contract work. MacEvoy paid Miller in full. Miller in turn purchased the materials to fulfill MacEvoy’s order from Calvin Tomkins Company (Tomkins) (defendant). Miller failed to pay Tomkins approximately $12,000 of the outstanding balance. Within 90 days of delivering the purchased materials to Miller, Tomkins provided written notice to MacEvoy, as prime contractor, and to Aetna, as surety, of its claim against Miller for the materials. Tomkins then sued MacEvoy and Aetna under the payment bond to recover the $12,000 Miller failed to pay. The district court dismissed Tomkins’s suit for failure to state a claim. The appellate court reversed. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari to determine whether a materialman can recover against a Miller Act payment bond in the absence of a contractual relationship with either the prime contractor or a subcontractor.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Murphy, J.)

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