Our practice covers the range of surety bonds, with a focus on construction bonds, fidelity bonds, and miscellaneous bonds involving probate, estates, trusts, and guardianship. Our practice for sureties includes representation of our surety clients in matters from bond formation to litigation, and from collateral establishment to enforcement.

We regularly advise our surety clients on the variety of bond claims made against them, including assistance with developing bond claim defense strategies, or if necessary, litigation strategies and defense. We also help develop strategies for negotiating with or pursuing principals and indemnitors. 

While disputes are an unfortunate aspect of surety bonding, we focus on preventive law to help our clients evaluate risks and avoid disputes. For those risks and disputes that cannot be avoided, we help identify them early to develop prompt, effective, and cost-efficient solutions.

Uncommon Credentials

For construction related bonds, our surety team members include veteran attorneys with construction field experience, project costing, scheduling, and management skills, and includes attorneys with engineering degrees, a registered professional engineer, and a registered architect. Our surety attorneys also include trained and certified mediators and arbitrators.

Woods Rogers' sureties practice includes licensed attorneys who have handled surety matters in Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland, and the District of Columbia, and we also have attorneys licensed in various other jurisdictions, including New Hampshire, New York, West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts.

For jurisdictions in which we are not licensed, we have coordinated defense through local counsel, and assisted in the determination of defense strategies, and oversight of local counsel actions. We have similarly coordinated defenses for principals of our sureties when they needed independent counsel to avoid “salvage” action conflicts and avoiding default judgment against the principal which was necessary to preserve the surety’s rights and defenses.

We have established relationships with judges and other court officers throughout Virginia and North Carolina in particular that are invaluable in defending our surety clients and helping avoiding defaults of their bonds.

Negotiation and Preparation of Agreements of Indemnity

We assist sureties with preparing and revising indemnity agreements with their principals and indemnitors, including negotiating the provisions of these agreements.

Securing Collateral for the Surety

We assist sureties with determining available collateral assets of principals and indemnitors, and assist with the preparation of security instruments such as deeds of trusts and financing statements. We also take actions as necessary to enforce against those collateral assets.

Principal Default Review and Actions

We assist sureties with developing strategies for addressing probable or noticed defaults by principals to help minimize risk and loss, and related advice to help proactively address noticed or likely defaults.

Completion Actions

We assist sureties with creating the most cost effective and efficient means of completing their obligations owed to obligees, and then negotiating and preparing related documents with the obligees, completion contractors, consultants, and other parties as necessary, including tender, takeover, completion, tripartite, and similar related agreements.

Claims Defense Through Tenders

We work with sureties in considering their defense tenders to principals to help them expedite defense and more seamlessly achieve mutual related claim goals and defenses of both principals and sureties.

We also defend construction bonds, including bid, payment and performance bonds, subdivision, erosion and sediment control, land disturbance, and permit bonds.

We regularly give advice regarding all manner of construction bond claims and assert the rights and defenses of our surety clients with respect to them, both by or against obligees and other third-parties, such as lower tier claimants.

Defense of Fidelity Bonds

We regularly provide advice to surety clients regarding the defense of the many types of fidelity and public official bonds, help develop defense strategies respecting those claims, and if necessary, to defend related litigation. These have included claims of fraud and misrepresentation by bank loan officers and misfeasance by public officials.

Bid Bond Claims

Contractors frequently underbid work or make bid mistakes putting their bid bond at risk. We have assisted sureties in developing strategies to approach owner/obligees with solutions to forfeiture of the bid bond, negotiating settlements of bid bond claims, and defending those claims when negotiations fail.

We recently developed defenses to an obligee’s bid bond claim for a federal procurement and convinced the agency to forego the claim against the bid bond. We also have assisted principals in the preparation of withdrawal requests because of bid mistakes and have experienced Government Contracting attorneys to assist in those and other aspects of federal, state, and local government contracting matters.

Performance Bond Claims

Contractor/principals going out of business is an unfortunate reality. We help our surety clients review indemnity agreements to preserve collateral and other assets assuring their later availability to the surety. We have also frequently assisted in the negotiation and preparation of contracts with project obligees to tender completion to other contractors, takeover the completion and enter into completion agreements with completion contractors and negotiate other hybrid tripartite agreements to establish other more effective and less costly means of meeting bond obligations.

Our services include developing takeover, completion, and tripartite agreements as needed for completing federal, state, and local government contracts by principals. We regularly work with our sureties’ other consultants regarding preparing re-let documents, including completion contracts and the negotiation and drafting of required completion agreements matching obligee requirements and the determined means to finish the work expeditiously and economically.

Similarly, we work with sureties evaluating and enforcing defaulted principals’ contract rights obtaining disputed contract balances to offset surety losses, and related legal services.

Payment Bond Claims

Contractors/principals also may default on their lower tier obligations, and we often see an increase in lower tier claims even when contractor/principal is solvent. We help our surety clients review these payment bond claims and develop strategies for defense or negotiation and have prepared release and assignment documents in exchange for payments.

Where matters cannot be resolved, we assist in the development of defense strategies, prepare responsive pleadings, and litigate disputed claims. We regularly assist surety clients in the investigation of varied lower tier bond claims against multiple principals unable to pay those of lower tier to them. For those with merit, we negotiated pre-litigation settlement of their claims, and for those with defenses, we prepared claim denials, and when litigation was nevertheless filed defended those claims in court.

Probate Bond Claims

Persons with little experience who are appointed as a fiduciary for an estate or an incapacitated person often fail to understand what is required of them. They frequently fail to comply with their fiduciary duty to properly manage and account for assets entrusted to them.

We regularly assist bonding companies with the defense of bond claims respecting executors and administrators of estates and trusts. This may include litigation to defend the acts of the fiduciary and avoid bond forfeitures, preparation of the necessary inventories, accounting, and other reports, and securing the assets of the estate or the defaulting principal. We represent several bond companies before courts and commissioners of accounts throughout Virginia and North Carolina defending claims against bond claims and to securing judgments against defaulted principals.

Public Official Bond Claims

Various jurisdictions require fidelity bonds for public officials, particularly for law enforcement officers. We have assisted our surety clients to defend various claims for dereliction of duties, such as claims by prisoners for prisoner abuse. One example includes our defense of abuse claims against a North Carolina sheriff by one of his prisoners, for which we developed the defense strategy and ultimately obtained dismissal of the bond claims.


The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice nor does it constitute an attorney-client relationship. The information provided may not be applicable in all situations and readers should speak with an attorney about their specific concerns. Some material on this site may be considered attorney advertising in some jurisdictions.

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