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Joe Leavens, Partner in the firm’s Birmingham office and member of the Construction Law Practice, shared his insights in an article published by Alabama Construction News about how retainage works under Alabama’s Prompt Pay Act.
“The Alabama Prompt Pay Act is a statute that sets limits on the amount of money that owners, contractors and subcontractors can withhold from parties that they contract with,” Joe was quoted as saying. “The retainage that is withheld is meant to be an incentive for the contractor to continue working through the entirety of the project.”
The Prompt Pay Act, he explained, acts as a safeguard for contractors by effectively "capping" the retainage limit. In circumstances where contractors find themselves grappling with retainage limits adversely affecting their businesses, he presented three strategic approaches. These include educating counterparts about the Prompt Pay Act, making them aware that it entitles contractors to recover one percent interest per month on any excessive retainage amounts withheld, and, if necessary, filing a lawsuit to recover both excessive retainage withheld, along with attorneys' fees.
Joe has negotiated hundreds of millions of dollars in construction contracts on projects of all sizes and types across the country for owners, developers, general contractors and subcontractors and is regularly involved in strategic project development for owners and real estate developers. Joe has extensive experience handling mid-project and post-completion legal matters including payment claims, liens, bond claims, construction defect claims, warranty claims and delay analyses in both the courtroom and in arbitration. His focus is always on getting the best business result for clients, whether that means litigating to a final judgment or finding a resolution with one eye on the bottom-line and one-eye on the next project.
He was the 2023 Chairman of the Construction Section of the Alabama State Bar. He has been recognized as a “Rising Star of Law” by the Birmingham Business Journal and named “Ones to Watch” by The Best Lawyers in America,® “40 & Under Hot List” by Benchmark Litigation and “Top Attorney” by Birmingham Magazine.