By Bruce Jervis
Statutes frequently contain notice provisions that spell out in detail the requirements for timely, sufficient notice, as well as the method of delivery. The construction industry is no stranger to notice provisions. Mechanic’s lien and payment bond statutes almost always include them.
It is evident to all that the means of communication have expanded greatly in the past two decades. Yet, statutory notice provisions have been slow to keep up. Statutes frequently do not even authorize delivery of notice by contemporary methods. And when they do, they sometimes create inconsistencies within the statute.
A recent example is found in South Carolina. The state payment bond statute authorized delivery of notice by multiple means, including electronic mail, to the bonded contractor’s “permanent office for the conduct of its business.” The state Supreme Court ruled that an email addressed to an individual stationed at a temporary trailer at the job site was sufficient. Emails can be accessed in many different locations.
Have you seen other examples where notice provisions are either out of date or awkward in their accommodation of electronic communication? When serving notice, are you comfortable relying on electronic communication? I welcome your comments.