Insight

Know This Contract Clause During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Force Majeure clauses are common in most contracts and can prove to be invaluable when determining whether one party’s performance is truly outside of that party’s control.

What is Force Majeure?
Roy D. Oppenheim

Roy D. Oppenheim

April 27, 2020 08:00 AM

Since the onset of the Coronavirus, business as we know it has changed. The pandemic has created all sorts of monumental disruptions in business as cancellations and delays have affected all sorts of industries: hotel, travel, events, professional sports tournaments, concerts, and real estate closings. Questions arise as to whether underlying contracts provide for a party who cannot fulfill the contract’s terms, for reasons outside of one’s control, to not be considered in default.

What is Force Majeure?

Usually, contracts have “force majeure” clauses that allow for parties to delay performance or actually get out of certain obligations in the event of unforeseen or uncontrollable events. Simply put, a party‘s performance under a contract is excused when certain circumstances beyond their control arise, making the performance of the underlying obligation commercially impracticable, illegal, or impossible. Force Majeure clauses are common in most contracts and can prove to be invaluable when determining whether one party’s performance is truly outside of that party’s control.

The way these clauses are worded is key and has evolved since the September 11 tragedy as well as the storm damage of Superstorm Sandy. Not all force majeure clauses are alike, as it depends upon the purpose of the contract as well as how well the parties have thought of the potential implications for an otherwise remote or unplanned event or catastrophe.

How Has COVID-19 Effected Real Estate Contracts?

In real estate, the virus has delayed closings for a multitude of reasons. Buyers or sellers may be out of the United States and do not have access to an open U.S. Consulate or Embassy and, therefore, are unable to obtain the proper notarization of documents from where they are. International Civil Law Notaries, who can notarize documents outside of the U.S. are, however, currently unable to perform such functions due to COVID-19. Furthermore, with social distancing being the new norm, more and more parties engaged in closings are requiring virtual remote online notarization especially in order to close residential real estate closings. And, specific to COVID-19, a Coronavirus Extension Addendum to Contract has emerged.

Will Force Majeure Clauses be Able to Include all Potential Situations?

It is fair to say that negotiating contracts has and will continue to evolve as a result of COVID-19. It is nearly impossible to predict for every single possibility in life; however, moving forward we all have much to consider, and our business negotiations and everyday dealings with each other will change.

In these ever-evolving times, we wish you all to be safe and well.

From the trenches,

Roy D. Oppenheim

Oppenheim Law
2500 Weston Rd #404
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33331
954-384-6114
https://www.oppenheimlaw.com

Originally posted at: https://southfloridalawblog.com/inability-to-perform-contracts-during-the-coronavirus-pandemic/

Related Articles

WATCH: Best Lawyers Discusses COVID-19 & Education


by Best Lawyers

Three legal experts join the CEO of Best Lawyers to discuss how COVID-19 will change public, private, and higher education in the country and the legal considerations people will have to consider

COVID-19 Panel: Education

WATCH: Best Lawyers Discusses COVID-19 & Sports Franchises


by Best Lawyers

Three legal experts join the CEO of Best Lawyers to discuss the legal challenges sports franchises face as the reality of reopening looms closer.

COVID-19 Panel: Sports Franchises

WATCH: Best Lawyers Discusses COVID-19 & Family Law


by Best Lawyers

Three legal experts join the CEO of Best Lawyers to talk about problems that arise for family law during COVID-19.

COVID-19 Panel: Family Law

WATCH: Best Lawyers Discusses COVID-19 & Rental Agreements


by Best Lawyers

Three legal experts join the CEO of Best Lawyers to talk about a general approach to “the rental” market and what happens if tenants can’t pay rent in May.

COVID-19 Panel: Rental Agreements

Is This a Once in a Lifetime Opportunity to Refinance Right Now?


by Roy D. Oppenheim

If you wish to stay in your current home and refinance or buy a new home, now is the time

Should You Buy a Home During This Pandemic?

The Employment Pandemic


by Meredith Caiafa and Sarah Greene

The pandemic has had far-reaching effects on employment law since it officially took hold in 2020, but the litigation and lawmaking surrounding it are mutating faster than the variants. Here’s how lawmakers and businesses can keep up.

Employment Law During COVID-19

Newly Launched COVID-19 Litigation Project Offers Open Access To Pandemic-Related Court Judgments From Over 70 Countries


by Sara Collin

A worldwide database of COVID-19 cases is uniting more than 70 countries as judges, lawmakers and lawyers continue to navigate pandemic related litigation and the ways in which it’s evolving amid year three.

COVID-19 Worldwide Litigation Project

Navigating the New Normal


by Jody E. Briandi

The pandemic has upended many law firms’ internal culture and their lawyers’ work habits, in many ways for the better. As we approach 2022, how can we consolidate those positive effects to transform the practice of law (and our personal lives) for the better?

Work Habits Affected by the Pandemic

Phoning It In


by Alyson M. St. Pierre, Ashley C. Pack and Crystal S. Wildeman

It’s not easy for employers to weigh requests from employees to work from afar, even in the wake of the pandemic. Considerations include COVID-19, vaccinations, the Americans with Disabilities Act and the nature of the job itself.

Employer Considerations for Teleworking

With Reservations


by Justin Smulison

Is vaccine liability on the menu for restaurant owners in 2021?

Vaccine Liability for Restaurant Owners

How I Adapt to Working From Home


by Alexandria Hurst

With the pandemic still ongoing with no end in sight, one lawyer writes about how she stays sane working from home.

Working From Home

WATCH: Best Lawyers Discusses COVID-19 & Health Care


by Best Lawyers

Two legal experts join the CEO of Best Lawyers to discuss the legal issues hospitals and health care providers are facing as a result of COVID-19.

COVID-19 Panel: Health Care

WATCH: Best Lawyers Discusses COVID-19 & Business Liability


by Best Lawyers

Three legal experts join the CEO of Best Lawyers to talk about business liability concerns as the economy opens back up.

COVID-19 Panel: Business Liability

Employment Alterations


by Ariel Beverly

As corporate America continues to grapple with pandemic-induced employment shifts, companies are still facing wage-hour compliance issues. Here’s some advice for navigating a post-pandemic work world.

Post-Pandemic Employment Difficulties

Measuring Success by Results


by John Fields

Recognized Best Lawyers®* recipient Joseph F. Brophy on how his Firm determines success.

Measuring Firm Success

Texas "Lawyer of the Year" 2022


by Best Lawyers

Charla Truett is honored as 2022 "Lawyer of the Year" in Texas for Immigration Law.

Texas "Lawyer of the Year" 2022

Trending Articles

Announcing the 2023 The Best Lawyers in America Honorees


by Best Lawyers

Only the top 5.3% of all practicing lawyers in the U.S. were selected by their peers for inclusion in the 29th edition of The Best Lawyers in America®.

Gold strings and dots connecting to form US map

Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America for 2023


by Best Lawyers

The third edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America™ highlights the legal talent of lawyers who have been in practice less than 10 years.

Three arrows made of lines and dots on blue background

Announcing the 2023 The Best Lawyers in Canada Honorees


by Best Lawyers

The Best Lawyers in Canada™ is entering its 17th edition for 2023. We highlight the elite lawyers awarded this year.

Red map of Canada with white lines and dots

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers® in the United States


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers listed in the 28th Edition of The Best Lawyers in America® and in the 2nd Edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America for 2022.

2022 Best Lawyers Listings for United States

Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in Canada 2023


by Best Lawyers

The year 2023 marks the second edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in Canada, highlighting professionals earlier in their legal careers all across Canada.

Blue background with white stairs formed out of lines

All Eyes to the Ones on the Rise


by Rebecca Blackwell

Our 2023 honorees recognized in Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America™ tell us more about how their path to law formed, what lead them to their practice areas and how they keep steadfast in their passion to serve others.

Person walking between glass walls towards window

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers in Canada™


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers listed in the 16th Edition of The Best Lawyers in Canada™ and 1st Edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in Canada.

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers in Canada™

Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch – The Future of Legal Talent Looks Bright


by Justin Smulison

Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch is launching its second edition in the United States, and after talking with both a company leader and esteemed lawyers on the list, the importance of this prestigious list is evident.

Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America 2022

Press and Publicity: How Television and Social Media Impact Legal Careers


by Justin Smulison

In recent years, with social media giving minute by minute reporting, many lawyers are finding themselves thrust into a spotlight they never planned for. How are lawyers grappling with unexpected stardom, media coverage and merciless influencers?

Close up of camera at news station

How A Claim Can Create A ‘Class’ of Its Own


by Justin Smulison

One civil claim can help a victim recover, prevent others from the same harm and even save lives. Tom Connick has experienced this directly, having been at the ground floor of injury claims that have led to high-value class action settlements.

Fire Consuming Paper Money

The Real Camille: An Interview with Johnny Depp’s Lawyer Camille Vasquez


by Rebecca Blackwell

Camille Vasquez, a young lawyer at Brown Rudnick, sat down with Best Lawyers CEO Phillip Greer to talk about her distinguished career, recently being named partner and what comes next for her.

Camille Vasquez in office

Famous Songs Unprotected by Copyright Could Mean Royalties for Some


by Michael B. Fein

A guide to navigating copyright claims on famous songs.

Can I Sing "Happy Birthday" in Public?

Protecting Small Business Owners: Trial Experts Connick Law LLC Notoriously Successful with Fire Litigation


by Justin Smulison

When small business owners become the target of insurance companies in fire-related lawsuits, hiring a firm with a reputation for understanding the science of fire suppression trials can save their livelihoods.

Gold Indoor Sprinkler Heads on Red Background

Introducing Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch


by Best Lawyers

Meet the next wave of top legal talent.

Ones to Watch

Announcing the 2022 "Best Law Firms" Rankings


by Best Lawyers

The 2022 “Best Law Firms” publication includes all “Law Firm of the Year” recipients, national and metro Tier 1 ranked firms and editorial from thought leaders in the legal industry.

The 2022 Best Law Firms Awards

Choosing a Title Company: What a Seller Should Expect


by Roy D. Oppenheim

When it comes to choosing a title company, how much power exactly does a seller have?

Choosing the Title Company As Seller