Rochelle, McCulloch & Aulds, PLLC
Rochelle, McCulloch & Aulds, PLLC

Rochelle, McCulloch & Aulds, PLLC Blog

RMA Celebrates 30 Years of Doing Business in Wilson County!

The RMA Family gathered yesterday evening to celebrate 30 years of doing business in Wilson County!

Established in 1987, Jere McCulloch and Jody Aulds, partners since 1982, joined their practice with that of former Tennessee State Senator, Robert (Bob) Rochelle, who was licensed in 1969.  With a staff of eight, the law firm offered legal services in a broad range of civil and criminal practice.

Today, Rochelle, McCulloch & Aulds, P.L.L.C. stands as the largest law firm in Wilson County, boasting two offices, 13 practicing attorneys, and 18 staff members.  We are proud to have served Wilson County for 30 years, and look forward to another 30 as RMA continues to grow!  Thank you for continued support.


Don’t Sleep on Your Retainage Escrow Account Rights

Most contractors are aware that the retainage provisions of the Tennessee Prompt Pay Act, T.C.A. §§ 66-34-101 et seq. (the “Act”), limit the maximum retainage withheld in any public or private construction contract to five percent (5%). However, it might surprise some contractors that T.C.A. § 66-34-104 of the Act requires that, for “all prime contracts and all subcontracts thereunder for the improvement of real property when the contract amount of such prime contract is five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000) or greater, notwithstanding the amount of such subcontracts,” all retainage must be deposited “in a separate, interest-bearing, escrow account with a third party which must be established upon the withholding of any retainage.” As such, when the total amount of the prime contract is $500,000 or greater, regardless of the total amount of any subcontract thereunder, these escrow account requirements apply.

Section 66-34-104 provides that “the party with the responsibility for depositing the retained amount in a separate, interest-bearing, escrow account with a third party shall have the affirmative duty to provide written notice that it has complied with the requirements of this section to any prime contractor upon withholding the amount of retained funds from each and every application for payment, including:

(1) Identification of the name of the financial institution with whom the escrow account has been established;
(2) Account number; and
(3) Amount of retained funds that are deposited in the escrow account with the third party.”

Section 66-34-104 also provides that, “[u]pon satisfactory completion of the contract, to be evidenced by a written release by the owner or prime contractor owing the retainage, all funds accumulated in the escrow account together with all interest on the account shall be paid immediately to the prime contractor or remote contractor to whom the funds and interest are owed.”

The penalties for not complying with Section 66-34-104 are robust as it provides that, “[i]n the event that the party withholding the retained funds fails to deposit the funds into an escrow account as provided herein, such party shall be responsible for paying the owner of the retained funds an additional three hundred dollar ($300) penalty per day for each and every day that such retained funds are not deposited in to such escrow account.” Furthermore, § 66-34-104 provides that “[f]ailure to deposit the retained funds into an escrow account as provided herein, within seven (7) days’ receipt of written notice regarding such failure, is a Class A misdemeanor.”

Importantly, § 66-34-104 provides that “[c]ompliance with [§ 66-34-104] shall be mandatory, and may not be waived by contract.” Section 66-34-104 also provides that it applies to all construction contracts with the State of Tennessee or any department, board or agency of the State of Tennessee, although there are slightly different requirements for the escrow accounts established by these public entities. Notwithstanding any of the above escrow account requirements, however, § 66-34-104 provides that any dispute over unpaid retainage is still “subject to rights of the person withholding the retainage in the event the prime contractor or remote contractor otherwise entitled to the funds defaults on or does not complete its contract.”

As a lawyer who has represented many contractors, large and small, in construction-related claims, I can assure you that collection of unpaid retainage is never an absolute, but it is substantially more likely to occur when it is held by a financial institution rather than an owner or general contractor, particularly when the owner or general contractor is experiencing financial distress. It is critical, therefore, that contractors take the proper steps immediately after entering a construction contract applicable to § 66-34-104 to inquire and obtain written assurance that the owner or prime contractor is complying with the escrow account requirements as provided therein regardless of any contract language to the contrary. If you have any questions regarding compliance with § 66-34-104 or any other construction contract-related matters, please give me a call.

— T. Price Thompson III, Construction Attorney

Ellie Meets Kellie!

Recently, RMA partner Jason Denton’s daughter Ellie was featured on national television, “I Love Kellie Pickler Show”, in the local magazine “The Wilson Living” and in the local newspaper Lebanon Democrat.

Jason and his wife Rachel have four kids.  Ellie, their second child was born with Craniosynostosis, a skull disease that impacts 1 out of every 2000 children.  Every parent should check for this condition in their newborns and should be aware of how to detect signs and symptoms.  The success of the the surgical correction depends on early detection and treatment.  To see Ellie’s story as broadcast on the “I Love Kellie Pickler Show” click here.  To read the Wilson Living Magazine article click here.

Jason wanted to share Ellie’s experience with other parents to provide education and hope. God is always there for you.



Wilson Bank & Trust Honors Julie Robinson

Attorney Julie Robinson celebrates her 3rd year on the Wilson Bank & Trust Community Council for the Lebanon Council. We are proud of our longtime partnership with WB&T!

Boy Scouts of America

Over last weekend, RMA’s very own Dickie Brooks and resident photographer, Marian Young, spent Saturday afternoon helping 12 local Boy Scouts earn their Merit Badge for Photography! The yearly event was hosted by Boy Scouts of America and Cumberland University, where scouts have 23 opportunities to earn Merit Badges, ranging from Aviation to Fire Safety to Leatherworking.

We are proud that all 12 of our students successfully completed the 7 hour course and earned their Merit Badge for Photography!

Mount Juliet High School

A few weeks ago, RMA Personal Injury Attorney Jason Denton spoke to Mrs.Miller’s Medical Therapeutics class at Mount Juliet High School. Junior and Senior MJHS students had many questions regarding the intersection of the healthcare and legal fields, as well as personal legal questions that Jason counseled. Young people need to understand the law and their rights, and RMA is proud to have a hand in the education process!

EMTAR Awards Banquet

We’re serious about real estate! RMA is a sponsor of the Annual EMTAR Awards Banquet. Pictured are Real Estate Attorney Matthew Ryan and wife, Tiffany, at Saturday evening’s celebration. For any and all real estate needs, please contact us at 615-443-8766!

Castle Heights Elementary School

We love giving back to our local schools! RMA partners Greg Gill and Jason Denton present a check to Principal Terry Trice of Castle Heights Elementary in Lebanon.

Attorneys affiliated with this firm are licensed to practice law in the State of Tennessee. Tennessee law requires that we inform you that this is an advertisement. Information found on this website is not intended as legal advice. Persons reading information found on this website should not act upon this information without seeking the advice of an attorney. Your visit to this website does not constitute an attorney-client relationship between you and Rochelle, McCulloch & Aulds, P.L.L.C. Although we want to hear from you, we ask that you do not provide us any information concerning any matter in which you are, or potentially may be, involved until verification is made by us as to any potential conflicts of interest. Engagement of the services of Rochelle, McCulloch & Aulds, P.L.L.C. and its attorneys must be in writing.
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