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.