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How the Courts Are Responding to COVID-19 Contract Cases

How the Courts Are Responding to COVID-19 Contract Cases

Author: Dan BrecherDate: July 8, 2020

Breach of contract cases arising out of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic are slowly making their way through the court system. The early decisions shed light on how courts are handling force majeure provisions and contract defenses like impossibility of performance and frustration of purpose.

As discussed in prior posts, a force majeure provision may excuse performance under a contract.  Allowed circumstances can include those deemed beyond the party’s control that make performance inadvisable, commercially impracticable, illegal, or impossible. Examples include natural disasters like hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, and other “acts of God.” However, the defense may also apply to manmade disasters, such as war, terrorism, civil disorder, supply shortages, and labor strikes.

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