David W. T. Carroll, Esq.
Carroll, Ucker & Hemmer LLC
7100 North High Street, Suite 301
Worthington, Ohio 43085
fax: (614) 547-0354
The Ohio Revised Code has a trap for the unwary, who innocently contract with school districts, cities, villages, and local taxing districts. Under Ohio law, a contract with any of these political subdivision is void and unenforceable unless there is attached to the contract a certificate of the chief fiscal officer stating that the funds to pay the contract have been appropriated and are either collected or are in the process of collection. (R.C. 5705.41). To be valid, the contract with a school district also requires a certification signed by the treasurer, superintendent and the President of the Board of Education stating in effect that the school district has enough funds to operate for the entire school year. (R.C. 5705.412).
If the contract does not have the required certificate attached, the courts have said that an architect (or other contracting party) cannot legally enforce collection of unpaid fees under the contract. It makes no difference that lack of a certificate was the fault of the public client. It makes no difference if the services or products have been satisfactorily delivered to the public entity. The legal concepts of quantum meruit (value without contract) or unjust enrichment do not apply to public entities in Ohio. Fortunately, the law does permit the public entity to honor the void contract voluntarily.
Recommendation: Insist upon having the required certificate attached to your contract. Better yet, attach a form certificate to your contracts and make certain the form is signed. Also, I recommend attaching the proper form to the contractor's contracts in the bid documents. For more information contract David W. T.Carroll at (614) 547-0350 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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The information on this web site is for general reference only. To apply the information to an individual situation, you must consult a qualified professional. Unless you contract for specific services from us, there is no attorney-client relationship established.
Ucker & Hemmer LLC