A force majeure clause is a provision often included in contracts that allows a party to withdraw from an agreement in the wake of an “extraordinary event,” according to a definition by Cornell Law School.
The term has been used most recently as businesses across the nation and the globe grapple with the consequences of the new coronavirus, which has temporarily closed some businesses and, in other cases, shut them down for good.
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The clause “frees both parties from obligation if an extraordinary event prevent one or both parties from performing,” Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute states. “These events must be unforeseeable and unavoidable, and not the result of the defendant’s actions, hence they are considered ‘an act of god.’”
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