Force majeure refers to an act, event, or circumstance that extends beyond someone’s control. If a contract includes a force majeure clause, a participant may be able to cite this clause to get out of the agreement. With help from a Georgia business litigation lawyer, you can find out if you can capitalize on this stipulation.
Griffin Durham Tanner & Clarkson LLC is a trial boutique that offers legal help to those involved in high-stake matters. Our team can teach you how to handle a force majeure clause in a contract. For more information, please reach out to us.
What is force majeure?
Force majeure is a clause that can be incorporated into a legally binding agreement in order to protect parties from obligation if an event outside their control impedes their ability to perform the obligation.
If force majeure is enacted, anyone involved and mentioned in a contract is no longer subject to the contract’s terms.
There are many instances where a force majeure clause can ultimately void a contract. These include:
- Labor strike
- Natural disaster
Along with these, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the structure of force majeure clauses in contracts. Courts have reviewed the language in various legal agreements to determine if the pandemic represents a “triggering event” for the stipulation. To date, courts have disagreed about whether the pandemic qualifies as a triggering event.
What does it mean when force majeure is linked to performance?
There can be times when a force majeure stipulation is linked to performance. If one party in an agreement does not meet a performance requirement, the clause can be enacted. In this scenario, the agreement can be voided, and any parties involved in the pact are not financially responsible for any future costs associated with it.
For those who are considering using this clause to reduce liability relating to performance, it helps to discuss your agreement with a business litigation lawyer. This gives you the opportunity to share any legal concerns with your attorney. Plus, your attorney can help you make an informed decision about whether a force majeure clause safeguards your legal rights.
The team at Griffin Durham Tanner & Clarkson LLC has helped clients with many legal agreements over the years. We can discuss breach of contract issues and other legal topics with you. To learn more, please get in touch with us.
What does force majeure look like in a contract?
It is crucial to understand what is a force majeure and what is a force majeure clause before you sign a contract. That way, you can craft an agreement that includes this stipulation as needed. You can also define the triggering events for the condition.
Hiring a business litigation attorney who has experience with this type of stipulation is key. Your lawyer can go over the terms of your agreement and help you put together a clause that protects your best interests. If, for any reason, a participant cites the condition as a reason to void the agreement, your attorney can verify if this individual is legally allowed to do so.
Along with these things, your lawyer can determine if a contract breach is material. They can make sure appropriate language is included in your contract relating to a breach of an agreement and a force majeure clause. If you ever have questions as a legal agreement is developed, your attorney can respond to them as well.
What language should be used in a force majeure clause?
An agreement can include boilerplate language that states that the pact can be voided only if it becomes “impossible” for any parties to continue with it due to unexpected circumstances. However, this creates a high threshold for enacting the stipulation.
In an agreement, it can be beneficial to use terms like “illegal” or “inadvisable” relative to the stipulation. For example, if someone breaks the law and goes to jail, they may no longer be able to fulfill the terms of the agreement. This may be a condition where the contract becomes void if the stipulation is in place.
You can include a list of acts or events as part of the clause, too. If you choose to do so, it helps to be specific. For instance, instead of saying an “emergency” can trigger the clause, you can list things like natural disasters and other events that would qualify as triggering emergencies.
How can an attorney help me?
A business litigation lawyer commits the time, energy, and resources required to produce a legal agreement that meets their client’s expectations. You can hire an attorney who can include a force majeure clause in your contract. Also, your lawyer can explain all of the terms in your contract and make sure that you get the most value out of it.
Griffin Durham Tanner & Clarkson LLC has a simple goal: to deliver the best result possible for our clients. We are here to help you with your business litigation in Georgia. To discuss your business litigation case with our team, please contact us online or call our Atlanta office at (404) 891-9150 or our Savannah office at (912) 867-9140.