When Do Force Majeure Clauses Excuse Performance?

The COVID-19 pandemic and the related business disruption has thrust force majeure clauses, which may offer parties to a contract the opportunity to delay or even forego performance due to unforeseen circumstances, into the spotlight. Two recent seminars, one presented by the New York State Bar Association, featuring attorneys from Offit Kurman, and the other by Dentons, featuring two of its attorneys, considered what constitutes force majeure, the legal principles that govern force majeure clauses, other legal principles that may excuse performance, and issues to consider when drafting force majeure clauses. This article synthesizes the key takeaways from both presentations. See “Business Considerations for Responding to the Coronavirus Outbreak” (Mar. 18, 2020).

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