Construction Law -



Persons Entitled to Liens: “[e] very contractor, subcontractor or materialman performing any work on or furnishing any materials for any building or any improvement upon real property shall have for his work done or plans or materials furnished a lien upon the building or improvements, and upon the real property of the owner on which they are situated to the extent of one (1) acre. If the improvements cover more than one (1) acre the lien shall extend to all the additional real property covered thereby.” Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 29-2-101. To have a lien the work or materials shall be furnished under a contract. Id. If the land subject to a lien is within a city, town, or subdivision, the lien will also include the lot. Id. Any lien properly perfected shall extend to the entire interest of the owner. Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 29-2-102.


Perfection of a Lien: For a lien to be perfected and enforceable, the following statutorily mandated steps must be taken:

1. In order to perfect the right to file a construction lien, the following preliminary notice requirements apply:

(i) The contractor, subcontractor and materialman shall send written notice to the record owner or his agent, of the right to assert a lien against the property for which services or materials are provided if the contractor, subcontractor or materialman is not paid, and the right of the owner or contractor to obtain a lien waiver upon payment for services or materials. Each subcontractor and materialman shall provide a copy of the written notice to the contractor for which the subcontractor or materialman is providing services or materials;

(ii) Any notice required under this section shall be sent:

(A) By the contractor prior to receiving any payment from owner, including advances;
(B) By the subcontractor or materialman within thirty (30) days after

first providing services or materials to the construction project.

(iii) Failure to send the notice required under this section within the time specified shall bar the right of a contractor, subcontractor or materialman to assert a lien;

Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 29-2-112.

The notice must be in the same format and contain the same information as the notice contained in Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 29-10-101. The notice forms are required by statute to be available at the county clerk’s office of each county. Id.

2. Anyone wishing to file a lien must first give twenty (20) days’ notice to the owner (or his agent) in writing of any claim against real property, a building or improvement, stating the amount of the claim and from whom it is due. Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 29-2-107. The notice must be in the same format and contain the same information as the notice form specified in Wyo. Stat. Ann. 29-10-102. The notice forms are required by statute to be available at the county clerk’s office of each county. Id.

3. A contractor must file a lien statement, sworn before a notary public, with the county clerk within one hundred fifty (150) days after the last day that work was performed or materials were furnished, or from the date the work was substantially completed or materials substantially furnished, whichever is earlier. Any other person, including subcontractors, must file within one-hundred twenty (120) days after the last day that the contractor directed the individual to perform work or furnish materials. The record owner of the property may record a notice of substantial completion of the project with the county clerk in the county where the project is located. The date of that filing will be presumed to be the date of substantial completion. Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 29-2-106.

4. The lien statement shall contain as appropriate the following information, pursuant to Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 29-1-312:

(i) The name and address of the lien claimant;
(ii) The amount claimed to be due and owing;
(iii) The name and address of the record owner against whose property the lien is filed;
(iv) An itemized list setting forth and describing materials delivered or work performed;
(v) The name of the person whom the lien claimant alleges is contractually responsible to pay the debt secured by the lien,
(vi) The date when labor was last performed or services were last rendered or the date of substantial completion of the project;
(vii) The legal description of the premises where the materials were furnished or upon which the work was performed; and
(viii) A copy of the contract, if available, or a summary of the lien claimant’s contract together with a statement of the location where a copy of the contract, if written, can be obtained.

The lien statement must be in the same format and contain the same information as the form specified in Wyo. Stat. Ann. 29-10-104. The lien statement forms are required by statute to be available at the county clerk’s office of each county. Id. The recording fee may be assessed as costs in any action to foreclose the lien. Notice must be sent by the lien claimant to the last record owner or his agent in the case of a real property lien within thirty (30) days after the lien statement is filed. The notice shall be in substantially the same format and contain the same information as the form of notice specified in Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 29-10-103. The notice forms are required by statute to be available at the county clerk’s office of each county. Id. All work performed or materials furnished by a lien claimant shall be considered as having been done under the same contract unless more than one hundred eighty (180) days elapse from the date of the performance of any work or the furnishing of any materials and the date when work or materials are next performed or furnished by the lien claimant. Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 29-1-403.


A perfected lien will apply to the “entire interest of the owner.” Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 29-2-102. Anyone seeking to enforce a lien is entitled to the right of a judicial sale of the building or improvements; however, if the land upon which an improvement lies would be in substantially the same condition as before the improvement was made, the court may authorize the removal of the improvement, with the party removing the improvement entitled to the reasonable costs associated with removal. Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 29-2-103, 104. A contractor is statutorily required to defend any action initiated by his employee, subcontractor, suppliers, or his subcontractor’s employees or suppliers, at the contractor’s expense. Furthermore, the owner is entitled to withhold payment to the contractor for the amount of the lien and, if judgment is rendered against the owner, the owner may either deduct the amount of the judgment and costs from any amounts due to the contractor, or recover the amount of the judgment and costs from the contractor, if the owner has already paid the contractor in full. Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 29-2-108. Any action to foreclose on or enforce a lien must be commenced within one hundred eighty (180) days after the filing of the lien statement. After one hundred eighty (180) days have passed since the filing of the lien statement, if no action to foreclose has been initiated, the lien will cease to exist. Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 29-2-109.

Priority of Liens:

Liens perfected under Title 29 of the Wyoming Statutes are “on an equal footing without reference to the date of the filing of the lien statement.” A perfected lien attaches to the real property, fixtures, materials, machinery or supplies furnished and improvements made in preference to any subsequent lien, security interest or mortgage under any other provision of law which has been perfected upon real or personal property, including a leasehold interest, against which the lien is claimed. Any lien, security interest or mortgage which has been perfected upon real or personal property or upon a leasehold interest prior to the commencement of any construction work or repair of the premises or property shall have priority except as provided by Chapter 7 of this act or Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 29-8-102. If the property is sold due to a foreclosure, and the proceeds are not sufficient to pay all lienholders in full, the proceeds will be prorated according to the amounts of the lienholders’ respective claims. Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 29-1-402. The holder of any prior perfected lien upon the real property is entitled to notice in suits to foreclose the lien; however, a foreclosure proceeding will not be rendered invalid by failure to give the notice required. Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 29-1-404.

Satisfaction of Lien:

a. Generally: Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 29-1-313 and § 29-1-314 require a notice of satisfaction of the lien statement to be filed in the office of the county clerk of any county in which the lien was filed, within thirty (30) days of the payment of any debt that was the subject of the lien. Failure of lien claimant to timely file a notice of satisfaction after receiving a request in writing by certified or registered mail will result in his liability for any actual damages, as well as one-tenth of one percent (.10%) of the original principal amount of the debt, but not to exceed $100.00 per day, daily until the satisfaction is entered. In addition, the lien claimant must send a copy of the notice of satisfaction to the record owner within five days. Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 29-1-313 and § 29-1-314. The notice of satisfaction must be in the same format and contain the same information as the notice of satisfaction form in Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 29-10-106. The notice forms are required by statute to be available at the county clerk’s office of each county. Id.

b. Substitute Security to Satisfy Lien: A lien may also be satisfied if “the owner of the property, a contractor or subcontractor has deposited with the court having jurisdiction over the lien a corporate surety bond, letter of credit, cash or cash equivalent of established value approved by the court having jurisdiction over the lien claim in the county where the lien was filed in an amount equal to one and one-half times the amount of the lien.” Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 29-1-501. The security must guarantee that “if the lien claimant is finally adjudged to be entitled to recover upon the lien, the principal or his sureties, jointly and severally, in the case of a bond, or the issuer of a letter of credit shall pay the claimant the amount of the judgment for at least the amount for which the lien was filed plus costs and attorneys’ fees.” Id. The bond may be filed with the clerk of the district court in the county in which the lien as filed, at any time prior to a final judgment on an action to foreclose the lien, and upon its filing, the lien shall be discharged and released in full; however, the lien claimant may bring an action upon the bond or undertaking within the time allowed for the commencement of foreclosure proceedings on the original lien. Id.


The timing of filing a lien statement may be altered by an agreement between the parties to the contract, so long as the agreed upon time does not exceed twice the statutorily prescribed time. Any such agreement must be in writing, signed by all parties to the contract, acknowledged by a notary public, and filed and recorded with the county clerk. Any contract between the owner and contractor will not affect or restrict the right of an employee or subcontractor, who is not a party to the contract, to file a lien. Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 29-2-106.

False or Frivolous Liens: If a person whose property is subject to a recorded lien, believes the lien is invalid, forged, knowingly groundless at the time of filing, states a false claim, or contains a material misstatement, that person may petition the court having jurisdiction over the lien, stating the grounds upon which relief is requested, and supporting the petition by the affidavit of the petitioner or his/her attorney setting forth a “concise statement of the facts upon which the motion is based.” Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 29-1-601(b). The court then may enter an order directing the claimant to appear six (6) to fifteen (15) days after the service of the petition, and show cause for why the relief requested should not be granted. The order must clearly state that if the claimant does not appear, the lien will be stricken and the claimant will be ordered to pay damages of at least $1,000.00, or actual damages, whichever is greater, as well as the costs and attorney fees of the petitioner. If the court finds that the claim is invalid, was forged, knowingly groundless at the time of filing, states a false claim, or contains a material misstatement, the court will order the lien stricken, and award the petitioner damages of $1,000.00, or actual damages, whichever is greater, plus costs and attorney fees. If, however, the court finds the lien to be valid, it will order costs and reasonable attorney fees to be paid to the claimant by the petitioner. Id.



General contractors performing public work contracts must provide a bond to protect subcontractors and materialmen. Any contract entered into by the state, counties, municipalities, or any associated public entity for the construction, major maintenance, or renovation of any public building or structure that exceeds $50,000.00 shall require a contractor to post a bond with the entity or state. Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 16-6-112(a). If the contract price is $150,000.00 or less, any other form of guarantee approved by the public entity or state is appropriate. The bond or other form of guarantee shall be:

(i) conditioned for the payment of all taxes, excises, licenses, assessments, contributions, penalties and interest lawfully due the state or any political subdivision;
(ii) For the use and benefit of any person performing any work or labor or furnishing any material or goods of any kind which were used in the execution of the contract, conditioned for the performance and completion of the contract according to its terms, compliance with all the requirements of law and payment as due of all just claims for work or labor performed, material furnished and taxes, excises, licenses, assessments, contributions, penalties and interest accrued in the execution of the contract;
(iii) In an amount not less than fifty percent (50%) of the contract price unless the price exceeds one hundred fifty thousand dollars ($150,000.00), in which case the appropriate officer, agent or the governing body may fix a sufficient amount;
(iv) Approved by and filed with the appropriate officer, agent or other designee of the state or governing body of the political subdivision.

Id. at (a)(i)-(iv). These requirements are presumed to be a part of every public contract for work

done whether included in the contract or not. See Vaughn Excavating and Construction, Inc. v. P.S. Cook Co., 981 P.2d 485, 487-488 (Wyo. 1999).

Any subcontractor or materialman entitled to the protection of a bond or other form of guarantee approved by a public entity or the state shall give notice of his right to the prime contractor. Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 16-6-121(a). If the subcontractor or materialman fails to give such notice he waives any right to a lien for materials or service provided. Id. Such notice shall be given by certified mail or hand-delivered to the general contractor within sixty (60) days after the date on which services or materials are first furnished. Id. at (b) and (c). These requirements only apply, however, if the contract itself is for an amount of $50,000.00 or more. Id. If so, the general contractor must conspicuously post the statutory section notifying all subcontractors and materialmen of their requirement to provide notice. Id.

The person or entity under the protection of the bond may maintain an action for the amount due him. Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 16-6-113. If suit is necessary, he shall notify the public entity named in the bond at the start of the action by giving names of parties, describing the guarantee and stating the amount and nature of the claim. Id. The courts may not enter judgment within thirty (30) days of notice. Id. Then the governmental entity or any person having a cause of action may motion to become a party to the suit. Id. Once the court has determined all parties’ rights it will determine the amount of claims and apply that to the bond amount. Id. If, however, the amount is insufficient to cover all claims, the court shall distribute the bond amount among the parties pro rata. Id.

Wyoming law imposes a statute of limitations on such actions. The action must be commenced within one (1) year after the date of first publication of notice of final payment of the contract. Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 16-6-115.

Before final payment and settlement of the contract between the public entity and the contractor, the contractor must sign a sworn statement that all claims for material and labor performed under the contract have been paid and are paid for the entire period of time for which the final payment is to be made. Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 16-6-117. If any claims are disputed, the contractor must so state in his sworn statement and the amount claimed shall be deducted from the final payment until the determination of the dispute, either by judicial action or consent of the parties, and then paid by the agent or agency to the persons found entitled thereto. Id.

As a final matter in the process, the supervising person from the public entity or state shall post, in an area nearby the construction site, a notice of settlement based on the final estimate provided. Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 16-6-116. Thereafter, on the 41st day, the supervising person shall pay the contractor. Id. This payment, however, does not relieve the contractor and the sureties on the bond for work or labor done or materials or supplies furnished in the execution of the contract. Id.


Under the Wyoming Governmental Claims Act, Wyo. Stat. Ann., § 1-39-101, et seq., the general grant of governmental immunity is waived for actions based on contract if the contract was within the powers granted to the entity and properly executed. Wyo. Stat. Ann., § 1-39-104. The claims procedure is set forth in Wyo. Stat. Ann., § 1-39-113, which provides a 2 year limitations period.


The following are relevant limitation periods under Wyoming law:

A. Contracts for Sale under the UCC: An action for breach of contract for sale must be commenced within four (4) years after the cause of action has accrued. By the original agreement, the parties may reduce the period of limitations to not less than one (1) year, but may not extend it. Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 34.1-2-725.
B. Actions for Recovery of Real Property: Ten (10) years after the cause of action accrues. Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 1-3-103.
C. Actions Upon Written Contracts: Ten (10) years. Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 1-3-105(a)(i).
D. Actions on Contracts Not in Writing, Either Express or Implied:
Eight (8) years. Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 1-3-105(a)(ii)(A).
E. Personal Injury Actions: Four (4) years. Wyo. Stat. Ann. § l-3-105(a)(iv)(C).
F. Actions for Improvements to Real Property: Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 1-3-111 states:

(a) Unless the parties to the contract agree otherwise, no action to recover damages, whether in tort, contract, indemnity or otherwise, shall be brought more than ten (10) years after substantial completion of an improvement to real property, against any person constructing, altering or repairing the improvement, manufacturing or furnishing materials incorporated in the improvement, or performing or furnishing services in the design, planning, surveying, supervision, observation or management of construction, or administration of construction contracts for:

(i) Any deficiency in the design, planning, supervision, construction, surveying, manufacturing or supplying of material or observation or management of construction;
(ii) Injury to any property arising out of any deficiency listed in paragraph (i) of this subsection; or
(iii) Injury to the person or wrongful death arising out of any deficiency listed in paragraph (i) of this subsection.

(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, if an injury to property or person or an injury causing wrongful death occurs during the ninth year after substantial completion of the improvement to real property, an action to recover damages for the injury or wrongful death may be brought within one (1) year after the date on which the injury occurs.
(c) This section shall not be construed to extend the period for bringing an action allowed by the laws of this state.


Wyoming has no requirements regarding pre-suit notice of claims for contract cases. Applicable notice requirements prior to filing a notice of lien and pre-foreclosure notice requirements are discussed above in the “Mechanic’s Liens” section.


The Wyoming Supreme Court has defined “accident” as a “fortuitous circumstance, event, or happening, an event happening without any human agency, or if happening wholly or partly through human agency, an event which under the circumstances is unusual and unexpected by the person to whom it happens; an unusual, fortuitous, unexpected, unforeseen or unlooked for event, happening or occurrence; chance or contingency, fortune, mishap, some sudden and unexpected event taking place without expectation, upon the instant rather than something which continues, progresses or develops.” Resig v. Union Ins. Co., 870 P.2d 1066, 1070 (Wyo. 1994). Claims regarding intentional or fraudulent acts, including misrepresentations or negligent misrepresentations which result in economic loss, are “deemed purposeful rather than accidental and therefore, are not covered under a CGL policy.” Shoshone First Bank v. Pacific Employers Insurance Co., 2 P.3d 510, 516 (Wyo. 2000).

Wyoming has no law addressing allocation of risk among multiple insurers. Allocating of defense costs as to covered and non-covered claims between the insured and the insurer is prohibited in Wyoming. Id.


Contractual provisions to indemnify are generally upheld by Wyoming courts, however they are not “looked upon with favor…and are to be strictly construed.” Amoco Production Company v. EM Nominee Partnership Company, 2 P.3d 534, 541 (Wyo. 2000) (Citations omitted). The Amoco Court held that “[i]f the indemnitee intends to make the indemnitor responsible for a fault in which the indemnitee shares, that goal must be expressed in clear and unequivocal terms beyond any peradventure of doubt.” Id. (Citations omitted). There are some statutory limitations to indemnity provisions that apply to certain industries. Indemnity provisions that indemnify against loss or liability from one’s own negligence in a contract relating to wells for oil, gas, or water, or mines for minerals, are void; however. indemnification for other than the indemnitee’s own negligence is not prohibited by the statute. Hull v. Chevron U.S.A., Inc., 812 F.2d 590 (10th Cir. 1987). The relevant statute, Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 30-1-131, states:

(a) All agreements, covenants promises contained in, collateral to or affecting any agreement pertaining to any well for oil, gas or water, or mine for any mineral, which purport to indemnify the indemnitee against loss or liability for damages for:

(i) Death or bodily injury to persons;
(ii) Injury to property; or
(iii) Any other loss, damage, or expense arising under either (i) or
(ii) from:-

(A) The sole of concurrent negligence of the indemnitee or the agents or employees of the indemnitee or any independent contractor who is directly responsible to such indemnitee; or
(B) From any accident which occurs in operations carried on at the direction or under the supervision of the indemnitee or an employee or representative of the indemnitee or in accordance with methods and means specified by the indemnitee or employees or representatives of the indemnitee, are against public policy and are void and unenforceable to the extent that such contract of indemnity by its terms purports to relieve the indemnitee from the loss of liability for his own negligence. This provision shall not affect the validity of any insurance contract or any benefit conferred by the Workers Compensation Law (§§ 27-14-101 through 27-14-805) of this state.

The Wyoming Supreme Court has noted, however, that this statute “restricts the freedom to contract, a common law right, and therefore must be strictly construed.” Union Pacific Resources Company v. Dolenc, 86 P.3d 1287, 1293 (Wyo. 2004).

In the 2019 session the Wyoming Legislature considered a bill that would have limited the enforceability of indemnity-related provisions in construction contracts, but the bill did not advance out of the House.


Wyoming has no law addressing contingent payment agreements (i.e., pay when paid or pay if paid clauses).



In a personal injury action, the recoverable damages include medical expenses, loss of earnings or earning capacity, pain and suffering, disability, loss of enjoyment of life and caretaking. Wyoming Medical Center, Inc. v. Murray, 27 P.3d 266 (Wyo. 2001).

In construction defect cases, the injured party may recover either the cost of repairs or, if the damage to the property is so extensive as to substantially amount to a taking, the injured party may recover the difference in the market value the property would have had without the defects and the market value of the property with the defects. Legacy Builders, LLC v. Andrews, 335 P.3d. 1063, 1068 (Wyo. 2014). Where the cost of repairs are clearly excessive or disproportionate to the actual loss, the diminution of market value is the appropriate measure of damages. Id. The injured party may also recover incidental or consequential damages so long as such damages are a foreseeable result of the breach. Id. at 1072.


Wyoming subscribes to the American rule as to recovery of attorney fees; i.e., each party is responsible for its own fees unless an award of such fees is allowed by contract or statute. Dishman v. First Interstate Bank, 362 P.3d 360, 365 (Wyo. 2015). The party claiming attorney fees must prove the fees are reasonable. Id. The claimant must present itemized billing reflecting the rate and reasonableness of the fee. Id.


Consequential damages may be recovered, unless precluded by the contract, by the property owner if they were reasonably foreseeable when the contract was made. Legacy Builders, LLC v. Andrews, 335 P.3d. 1063, 1072 (Wyo. 2014).


Delay damages may be recovered in Wyoming for failure to complete a construction project on time. Quin Blair Enterprises v. Julien Construction Company, 597 P.2d 945 (Wyo. 1979). In Quin, the Court upheld an award to a motel owner for lost revenue due to the hotel not being completed per the contract schedule. Similarly, the Wyoming Supreme Court upheld a subcontractor’s claim for delay damages based on the rental value of equipment idled by the delay. Studer v. Rasmussen, 344 P.2d 990 (Wyo. 1959).


The economic loss doctrine is recognized in Wyoming, but its application has been significantly limited or compromised by a recent decision from the Wyoming Supreme Court. The economic loss rule “bars recovery in tort when a plaintiff claims purely economic damages unaccompanied by physical injury to persons or property.” Rissler & McMuny Co. v. Sheridan Area Water Supply Joint Powers Board, 929 P.2d 1228, 1234-35 (Wyo. 1996). The purpose of the rule is “to maintain the distinction between those claims properly brought under contract theory and those which fall within tort principles.” Id.

In the recent case of Rogers v. Wright, 366 P.3d 1264 (Wyo. 2016) the Wyoming Supreme Court recognized an exception to the economic loss rule where a duty independent of contract was violated. The case involved a claim against a home builder for defective construction. The court relied upon a prior case for the principle that home builders and developers have an independent duty of care when constructing new homes. Thus, the court held that the economic loss rule did not prevent the purchasers from bringing a negligence claim against the home builder in this instance despite the fact that the damages were solely economic or pecuniary in nature. Id. at 1276. However, the Court ultimately held that an “as is” clause in the contract between the homebuyer and the builder constituted a waiver of that independent duty of care. With this decision, although somewhat limited by its facts, the continued viability of the economic loss doctrine in Wyoming is uncertain.


“Prejudgment interest may be recovered on a liquidated claim, defined as one ‘that is readily computable by basic mathematical calculation.’” Cargill v. Mountain Cement, 891 P.2d 57, 66 (Wyo. 1995), quoting Dunn v. Rescon Technology Corp., 884 P.2d 965, 968 (Wyo. 1994) and O’s Gold Seed Co. v. United Agri-Products Financial Services, Inc. 761 P.2d 673, 677 (Wyo. 1988). The Wyoming Supreme Court has further stated that “[a]n unliquidated claim may be converted to a liquidated claim if the amount claimed can be determined, inter alia, ‘without reliance on opinion or discretion.’” Cargill, at 66, citing Rissler & McMurry Co. v. Atlantic Richfield Co., 559 P.2d 25, 33 (Wyo. 1977) and Elte, Inc. v. S.S. Mullen, Inc., 469 F.2d 1127, 1133 (9th Cir. 1972).


Punitive damages for breach of contract are not recoverable. As stated by the Wyoming Supreme Court in Waters v. Trenckmann. Wyo., 503 P.2d 1187, 1190 (Wyo.1972), for punitive damages to be awarded “there would have to be conduct on the part of defendant amounting to aggravation, outrage, malice or willful and wanton misconduct. …there must be evidence of spite, ill will or willful and wanton misconduct at the inception of a fraudulent contract and that the remedy for wrongful acts occurring afterwards would be compensatory damages for breach of contract.” U.S. Through Farmers Home Admin.v. Redland, 695 P.2d 1031 (Wyo.1985) (Emphasis added).


Contractual provisions for liquidated damages are valid and enforceable, unless the damages are punitive in nature. Wolin v. Walker, 830 P.2d 429 (Wyo. 1992). Liquidated damage provisions are considered punitive in nature when the damages bear no relationship to damages actually sustained. Id.


The 2019 General Session of the Wyoming Legislature did not result in any material changes to Wyoming construction law statutes.