Impounding Disputed Money Until Judicial Determination
Section 38-22-126(6), C.R.S. 1999 states in pertinent part:
Upon such notice being received by the disburser, it is the duty of the disburser, before disbursing any funds to the person designated in said notice with whom said claimant has contracted, to ascertain the amount due to the claimant on any disbursement date, and to pay such amount directly to the claimant out of any undisbursed funds available for and due to said person designated in said notice on such date; except that . . . if the amount claimed by said claimant is disputed by said person designated in said notice, the disburser may impound such amount until the amount due is settled by agreement or final judicial determination.
This statute imposes duties on a disburser to see that subcontractors receive payment for their labor and materials.
It requires that, upon appropriate notice, the disburser pay the subcontractor directly rather than pay the contractor. Flooring Design Associates, Inc. v. Novick, 923 P.2d 216 (Colo. App. 1995).
The words and phrases in statutes are to be construed according to their familiar and generally accepted meaning, and when the language of the statute is plain and its meaning clear, a court should avoid an inconsistent interpretation, and no absurdity should result. See Harding v. Industrial Commission, 183 Colo. 52, 515 P.2d 95 (Colo. 1973).
The primary goal of statutory construction is to give effect to the intent of the legislature. See Smith v. Myron Stratton Home, 676 P.2d 1196 (Colo. 1984).
Under these rules of statutory construction, we conclude that the phrase set forth in 38-22-126(6), "available for and due to," refers to the construction loan proceeds in full, and not merely to those funds paid to the general contractor upon completion of a project.