§ 5-65-12. Procedure for making claims against a contractor Investigation by board Disciplinary action.
(a) Any person having a claim against a contractor of the type referred to in § 5-65-11, may file with the board a statement of the claim in any form and with any fee that the board prescribes. The filing fee may be reimbursed to the claimant by the respondent, if the respondent is found to be at fault. Claims resolved prior to issuance of an order may be removed from the contractor's registration board record pursuant to administrative regulations.
(1) All claims filed with the contractor's registration board shall be heard by a designated hearing officer, unless either party prior to the administrative hearing, files a civil action on the matter in a state court. Upon receipt of a written notice and a copy of the filed civil complaint the board shall discontinue processing the claim. If documentation is not received, the hearing will be conducted.
(2) A court judgment may constitute the basis for regulatory action against a contractor's registration, which may result in the imposition of fines and penalties. A petition to enforce a mechanic's lien does not necessarily constitute a civil action for purposes of this section.
(b) The board may refuse to accept, or refuse at any time to continue processing a claim if:
(1) The same facts and issues involved in the claim have been submitted to any other entity authorized by law or the parties to effect a resolution and settlement;
(2) The claimant does not permit the contractor against whom the claim is filed to be present at any inspection made by the board;
(3) The board determines that the contractor against whom the claim is filed is capable of complying with the recommendations made by the board relative to the claim, but the claimant does not permit the contractor to comply with the recommendations. The board may refuse to accept further process of a claim under this paragraph only if the contractor was registered at the time the work was first performed and is registered at the time the board makes its recommendations; or
(4) The board determines that the nature or complexity of the claim is such that a court is the appropriate forum for the adjudication of the claim.
(c) The board shall not process a claim unless it is filed in a timely manner as follows:
(1) If the owner of a new structure files the claim, the board must receive the claim not later than one year after the date the structure was first occupied as determined from the date of issuance of the certificate of occupancy, or one year after the date of the closing on the structure, whichever occurs later.
(2) If the owner of an existing structure files the claim, the board must receive the claim not later than one year after the date the work was substantially completed as determined by the certificate of occupancy, or the date that work ceased.
(3) Regardless of whether the claim involves a new or existing structure, if the owner files the claim because the contractor failed to begin the work pursuant to a written contract, the board must receive the claim not later than one year after the date the parties entered into a written contract.
(4) Regardless of whether the claim involves a new or existing structure, if the owner files a claim because the contractor failed to substantially complete the work, the board must receive the claim not later than one year after the date the contractor ceased work on the structure.
(5) If a registered general contractor files the claim against a registered subcontractor, because the subcontractor failed to substantially complete the work, the board must receive the claim not later than one year after the date the subcontractor ceased to work on the structure.
(6) If a material or equipment supplier, an employee, or a registered subcontractor files the claim, the board must receive the claim not later than one year after the date the registrant incurred the indebtedness.
(7) Any corrective work performed to resolve a claim shall be the responsibility of the contractor for one year beyond the completion date but only for corrective work performed.
(d) Upon acceptance of the statement of claim, the board shall give notice to the party against whom the claim is made and shall initiate proceedings to determine the validity of the claim. If, after investigation, the board determines that a violation of this chapter or of any rule promulgated under this chapter has occurred, the board shall order any action deemed appropriate, including action on the contractor's registration and compensation to the claimant for any damages incurred as the result of the violation or claim. If the contractor performs accordingly, the board shall give that fact due consideration in any subsequent disciplinary proceeding brought by the board; provided, that the board shall suspend for a period of one year certification of any registrant who is found by final determination to have willfully and knowingly violated any provisions of this chapter with respect to three (3) or more structures within a one year period.
(e) In any action brought by a person under this chapter, the board may award, in addition to the relief provided in this section, treble damages, reasonable attorneys' fees and costs and any award for services of process costs pursuant to § 5-65-26.
(f) Notwithstanding any language limiting an action pursuant to this chapter, whenever a consumer shall notify, in writing, a contractor of any problem with work performed by a contractor or subcontractor within one year of the completion of the work and said problem has not been corrected by the contractor or subcontractor, the aggrieved party shall have up to two (2) years from the date of completion of the contractor's work to file a claim with the contractors' registration board. Such two (2) year period shall not be construed as an extension of any one year warranty period expressed in any contract.
(P.L. 1989, ch. 222, § 1; P.L. 1994, ch. 350, § 2; P.L. 1995, ch. 311, § 1; P.L. 1996, ch. 322, § 1; P.L. 2001, ch. 323, § 1; P.L. 2006, ch. 648, § 1; P.L. 2008, ch. 364, § 1.)