Is Coronavirus an ‘Act of God?’ Lawyers Say That’s Complicated

April 20, 2020 – Media Mention

Herrick partner Dena Cohen was quoted in Bloomberg discussing force majeure clauses in this time of COVID-19.

Like other contracts, force majeure clauses in leases allow parties out of contractual obligations due to unforeseen disruptions, and legal language varies from lease to lease. Its unclear whether COVID-19 qualifies in many leases that do not explicitly mention pandemics and each landlord/tenant situation is different.

"Rent is often not covered by the force majeure clauses, meaning the payments are still due... There are no easy answers here," said Dena, who is already seeing contracts "evolve to include language that mentions illness and pandemics."