Verify That You Are Working on a Section 137 Project
State Finance Law Section 137 covers most public projects in New York, but not all of them. In general, your work is covered if you are working on a public project where the contract exceeds $100,000 (not just your portion of the contract) and the project is not subject to New York's Wicks law. However, if you are not certain that your project is covered, submit a notice anyway just to protect yourself.
Serve Written Notice
Not all claimants must submit written notice but it cannot hurt. Sub-subcontractors and suppliers and materialmen to subcontractors must submit written notice. Subcontractors and suppliers and materialmen to the general contractor and prime contractor are not required to submit a written notice of claim but it is still a good idea. The notice of claim must be in writing and submitted no later than 120 days after the date that you last provided labor or materials to the project. The notice must state, with substantial accuracy, the name of the entity that you performed work for or provided materials to and must also identify the amount due with substantial accuracy. The notice of claim must be served by registered mail or personally served on the contractor. The surety is not required to be served but, again, serving the notice on the surety that issued the payment bond is a good idea.
Once your written notice of claim has been submitted, and you still have not been paid, you must file your lawsuit against the contractor and/or the surety that issued the bond. The lawsuit to enforce your rights under the bond must be filed within 1 year of the time that the project was accepted by the public owner.