COVID-19 & Contracts: What are my options?

COVID-19 has forced us into the unexpected with our personal and professional lives. With an event as extreme as the COVID-19 pandemic, there are concerns about all kinds of agreements, insurance, mortgage, debt obligations, lease, domestic relations, and vendors, to name a few. Because nearly every agreement in our lives has been substantially affected, many of us are at a loss for what to do.

Understanding your options can help you rediscover an amended agreement to overcome the pandemic challenges of meeting obligations; where contract performance becomes impracticable, there generally are options. One option could be to rely upon “force majeure” or similar provisions where performance is made impracticable because of an intervening event.

COVID-19, in contract legal lingo, may be considered a “force majeure” event. You may have such language in your insurance policy or lease agreement. Generally speaking, a “Force Majeure” is a French term for “superior force” to represent an event that is neither anticipated nor controlled. When parties to a contract agree that this event has occurred, contractual obligations may be amended.

The jurisdiction where the contract was executed or the governing law provision of the contract are important factors in evaluating if a force majeure provision is triggered under COVID-19. Why performance becomes impossible, such as prevention by government order, is also key to interpreting the force majeure or similar clause that addresses the discharge of parties’ duties.

The gist of how your contract may be affected by current-day circumstances is likely dependent on state law, so it’s important to have a professional knowledgeable in the applicable state’s contract law to help you interpret a contract, so you can then evaluate options. It makes sense to seek help to navigate these uncertain times when you have a lot riding on a contract. With knowledge of your options, you can organize yourself with a plan that will bring you, your family, and maybe even your business the security to move forward with the right mindset. 

The information provided does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; all information is for general informational purposes only. This information may not constitute the most up-to-date information. The links provided are only for the convenience of the reader. A. Ferraris Law, PLLC, and its members do not endorse the contents of third-party references.

Copyright©2020, A. Ferraris Law, PLLC. All Rights Reserved

Skip to content