Can I Get Force Majeure from a Novel Coronavirus?

      At the time of this writing, stay-at-home orders are mostly still in place and the total impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is unknown. Our healthcare systems are over stressed, and we are seeing worldwide challenges unlike any before. The lack of PPE, the hesitancy of many to seek appropriate medical care because of the fear of exposure, quarantine, the impact of travel bans and free assembly, work force disruptions and the impact of social distancing, facemasks and gloves as well as other restrictive measures have merged to wipe out revenue streams, interrupt global supply chains and interfere with many companies unable to fulfill contractual obligations.
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      1. Investopedia. Business Essentials, Force Majeure Accessed April 17, 2020.

      2. Principle No. VI.3 - Force majeure. Accessed April 17, 2020.

      3. Marie K. Pesando, American Jurisprudence 2d, Act of God § 13.

      4. See, e.g., Richard A. Lord, 30 Williston on Contracts § 77:31 (4th Ed.) (“What types of events constitute force majeure depend on the specific language included in the clause itself.”); Kel Kim Corp. v. Cent. Mkts., Inc., 70 N.Y.2d 900, 902 (1987) (holding that force majeure defense is narrow and excuses nonperformance “only if the force majeure clause specifically includes the event that actually prevents a party's performance”).

      5. Covering Losses with Business Interruption Insurance, Insurance Information Institute, Accessed April 18, 2020.

      6. William Lalor. COVID-19 Business Interruption Coverage Concerns. Risk Management Magazine. Accessed April 18, 2020.

      7. Bethan Moorcraft. Does the coronavirus equate to "physical" property damage for business interruption claims? Insurance Business Canada Magazine. Accessed April 21, 2020.

      8. Leslie Scism, U.S. Businesses Gear Up for Legal Disputes with Insurers Over Coronavirus Claims, Wall Street Journal Online, Accessed April 18, 2020.

      9. Sian Barton, Axa Confirms Position on Coronavirus Business Interruption Coverage, Insurance Age, Accessed April 21, 2020.