According to a quick Google search the term “holding the bag” comes from the mid eighteenth century and means be left with the onus of what was originally another’s responsibility. Nobody wants to be left holding the bag. But that is the situation our client (subcontractor) found themselves in when upon completion of a public project the general contractor went out of business before paying the remaining amount due and owing to our client.
Under Nebraska law, liens are not allowed against public projects. Instead the subcontractor is to make a claim on the payment and performance bond secured by the general contractor at the start of the project. In our case, the general contractor never secured a bond on which to make a claim; consequently leaving our client holding the bag.
Fortunately, we were able to hand the bag back to the State and obtain full payment for the services and materials provided.