Fellow Manufacturing Industry Team member, Taylor Shea and I had the pleasure of presenting the first program in the “Coronavirus Special Topic Conference Calls Series” offered by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Connecticut District Export Council on March 18, 2020. The session was on “Force Majeure both for Contracts/Suppliers, Cancellation of Trade Shows” and covered some of the basics surrounding force majeure clauses and how companies can plan for and react to the current health emergency.

During the program, we described what force majeure is, outlined the criteria that must be satisfied to claim an event as force majeure, and offered insight on whether or not COVID-19/coronavirus is considered one. “‘It depends on the contract language. Some (but probably not many) contracts will specifically include pandemics, epidemics, diseases or health crises as force majeure events. If this is the case, it is very likely that COVID-19 will qualify as a triggering event. However, the majority of contracts will not have a specific reference to pandemics or the like. In that case, you will need to evaluate whether COVID-19 qualifies under one of the events that are enumerated in your contract (e.g. an “Act of God,” a governmental action, etc.)” The resource material and audio from the program are available.

In addition, the webinar was used as a resource for the article “Refunds, Closure, Coronavirus and the Law for Business and Consumers in Connecticut” published by CT Examiner on April 1, 2020. Read the full article.

 

 

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Photo of Jeffrey White Jeffrey White

I am a partner at Robinson+Cole who handles corporate compliance and litigation matters for both domestic and international manufacturers and distributors that make and ship products around the world. My clients have ranged from publicly traded Fortune 500 companies to privately held and/or…

I am a partner at Robinson+Cole who handles corporate compliance and litigation matters for both domestic and international manufacturers and distributors that make and ship products around the world. My clients have ranged from publicly traded Fortune 500 companies to privately held and/or family owned manufacturers. For those looking for my detailed law firm bio, click here.

I am often asked why I have focused a large part of my law practice on counseling manufacturers and distributors. As with most things in life, the answer to that question is tied back to experiences I had well before I became a lawyer. My grandfather spent over 30 years working at a steel mill (Detroit Steel Company), including several years in its maintenance department. One of my grandfather’s prime job duties was to make sure that the equipment being used was safe. In his later years, he would apply those lessons learned in every project we did together as he passed on to me his great respect and pride for the manufacturing industry.

Because of these experiences, I not only feel comfortable advising executives in a boardroom, but also can easily transition to the factory floor. My experience has involved a range of industries, including aerospace and defense, chemicals, energy, pharmaceuticals and life sciences, nutritional and dietary supplements, and retail and consumer products. While I have extensive experience in litigation (including product liability and class actions), I am extremely proactive about trying to keep my clients out of the courtroom if at all possible. Specifically, I have counseled manufacturers and distributors on issues such as product labeling and warranties, product recalls, workplace safety/OSHA, anti-trust, and vendor relations, among other things. I always look for the business-friendly solution to a problem that may face a manufacturer or distributor and I hope this blog will help advance those efforts.