Western Surety Co. v. U.S. Engineering Construction, LLC, No. 19-7033 (D.C. Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
Western Surety filed suit against US Engineering, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief regarding its potential liability under a construction performance bond. Western Surety claimed that its obligations under the bond were discharged because U.S. Engineering failed to comply with a condition precedent, thereby relieving Western Surety of any liability.
The DC Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for Western Surety. Because the bond expressly provides the surety with the opportunity to participate in curing the subcontractor's default, the court held that it is a condition precedent to the surety's obligations under the bond that the owner must provide timely notice to the surety of any default and termination before it elects to remedy that default on its own terms. In this case, US Engineering failed to provide such timely notice, and thus Western Surety was not obligated to perform under the bond. The court also held that the bond is clear that Western Surety is not required to demonstrate actual prejudice to avoid liability under these circumstances.