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What If My Contract Doesn’t Have a Force Majeure Clause?

Here at Cotney Construction Law, we’ve been advising construction professionals to do everything they can to protect their businesses during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak. Among other recommendations, we’ve been advising contractors to stay up to date on stay-at-home orders, send sick workers home, and review their employee manuals. We’ve also been advising contractors to review their contracts for an important clause that can protect their business during this difficult time: a force majeure clause. 

Force majeure clauses are used to protect businesses and projects from “acts of God,” unforeseen circumstances that cause delays, result in material shortages, and, overall, threaten project completion. These clauses limit liability in the event of a flood, hurricane, earthquake, or, in this instance, a global pandemic. Below, a Lakeland construction attorney will discuss what happens if a force majeure clause is not in effect on a construction project. 

Review Your Contract 

Even if your contract is without a force majeure clause, it doesn’t mean that it’s mum on liability. Carefully comb through your contract for provisions that pertain to unforeseen circumstances or consult one of our Lakeland construction attorneys for contract review services. 

Related: The Key Contract Provisions Needed to Combat Coronavirus

The Doctrine of Frustration

If no such provisions are found, you still have options. Common law will need to be invoked to determine if force majeure is implied by the contract language. In certain circumstances, it may be possible to rely on the doctrine of frustration. Under the doctrine of frustration, performance may be excused as a result of an unforeseen disaster. 

Related: What Contractors Need to Know About Price Acceleration Provisions

However, this legal route may not be best for all parties involved, as it effectively ends the contract. And dire as the current situation may be, it could be argued that the doctrine of frustration should not apply considering that there have been recent warnings of pandemics. Determining how common law will apply to any given contract is incredibly difficult, especially as government regulations and recommendations are changing daily to combat the spread of COVID-19. 

Partner With CCL for Unlimited Contract Review 

Now and in the coming months, contractors will be doing everything in their power to save money on delayed and shutdown jobsites. It may seem like contract review services are simply out of the question during this time; however, that’s not the case with our construction law firm. Here at Cotney Construction Law, we offer unlimited contract review. We believe that contract review is so important that it comes with every tier of our subscription plan. Before you overlook your contract provisions for fear of losing money, consider the affordable, on-demand attorneys from Cotney Construction Law. 

If you would like to speak with a COVID-19 construction lawyer, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.