§ 37-13.1-1. Suits allowed Jurisdiction Statute of limitations Procedure.
(a) Any person, firm, or corporation which is awarded a contract subsequent to July 1, 1977, with the state of Rhode Island, acting through any of its departments, commissions, or other agencies, for the design, construction, repair, or alteration of any state highway, bridge, or public works other than those contracts which are covered by the public works arbitration act may, in the event of any disputed claims under the contract, bring an action against the state of Rhode Island in the superior court for Providence county for the purpose of having the claims determined, provided notice of the general nature of the claims shall have been given in writing to the department administering the contract in accordance with the contract specifications set forth for the specific contract. No action shall be brought under this section later than one year from the date of the acceptance of the work by the agency head as so evidenced; provided, however, that no action shall be brought under this section on any contract awarded prior to July 1, 1977. Acceptance of an amount offered as final payment shall preclude any person, firm, or corporation from bringing a claim under this section. The action shall be tried to the court without a jury. All legal defenses except governmental immunity shall be reserved to the state. Any action brought under this section shall be privileged in respect to assignment for trial upon motion of either party.
(b) Any party bringing an action under this section shall be entitled to an award of prejudgment interest beginning with the filing date of such court action. Said interest shall be computed daily to the date of payment and shall be compounded annually. Interest shall be calculated as follows:
(1) Where the period for which interest is owed does not exceed one year, interest shall be calculated for such period at an annual rate equal to the weekly average one year constant maturity treasury yield, as published by the board of governors of the federal reserve system, for the calendar week preceding the filing date of the court action under this section.
(2) Where the period for which interest is owed is more than one year, interest for the first year shall be calculated in accordance with subdivision (1) of this section and interest for each additional year shall be calculated on the combined amount of the principal and accrued interest at an annual rate equal to the weekly average one year constant maturity treasury yield, as published by the board of governors of the federal reserve system, for the calendar week preceding the beginning of each additional year.
In the event the one year constant maturity treasury yield is converted to a different standard reference base or otherwise revised, the determination of interest shall be made with the use of such converted or revised standard reference base. In the event the board of governors of the federal reserve system ceases to publish a converted or revised rate, interest shall be calculated at a rate published by the United States Treasury Department, or other comparable entity, that establishes a rate reflecting or best approximating the market conditions for one year investments at the time of the taking and each additional year that interest is owed pursuant to subdivision (2) above.
Any action brought under this section shall, upon motion of either party, be given priority for expedited hearing.
(P.L. 1978, ch. 147, § 1; P.L. 2006, ch. 312, § 1; P.L. 2006, ch. 449, § 1.)