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  • Writer's pictureLeeson & Leeson

Force Majeure Clauses and Their Role in Contract Litigation

Updated: Jan 21

In the realm of commercial contracts, unforeseen events can disrupt the normal course of business, leading to disputes and litigation. To mitigate the impact of such disruptions, many contracts include force majeure clauses. These clauses, often tucked away in the fine print, play a crucial role in determining the rights and obligations of parties when faced with unforeseeable circumstances. At Leeson & Leeson, our Bethlehem commercial litigation lawyers serve our clients in Pennsylvania by providing high-quality legal representation about every aspect of contract litigation, including force majeure clauses.

Understanding Force Majeure Clauses:

A force majeure clause is a contractual provision that excuses a party from performing its contractual obligations when certain extraordinary events or circumstances occur. These events, often referred to as "acts of God" or "acts of nature," include natural disasters, wars, strikes, and other events beyond the control of the parties involved. The purpose of a force majeure clause is to allocate the risk of unforeseen events between the parties and provide a framework for addressing the consequences of such events.

Enforceability of Force Majeure Clauses:

The enforceability of force majeure clauses depends on the wording and the language used in the contract and the governing law. Leeson & Leeson's commercial litigation expertise ensures a thorough analysis of the contract terms to determine whether the events triggering the force majeure clause are clearly defined. Ambiguous or poorly drafted clauses may lead to disputes over their applicability, making it crucial to enlist legal professionals who can navigate these complexities.

Notable Considerations in Force Majeure Litigation:

  • Causation and Nexus:

  • Establishing a causal link between the force majeure event and the inability to perform contractual obligations is essential. Leeson & Leeson's litigators delve into the specifics, ensuring a strong connection between the event and the party's non-performance.

  • Notice Requirements:

  • Many force majeure clauses include notice provisions that mandate timely communication of the occurrence of the force majeure event. Failure to adhere to these notice requirements can impact the party's ability to rely on the clause. Attorneys at Leeson & Leeson understand the importance of strict compliance with such procedural elements.

  • Mitigation of Damages:

  • Even when a force majeure event occurs, parties are often obligated to take reasonable steps to mitigate the impact on performance. Legal professionals at Leeson & Leeson guide clients in navigating the delicate balance between non-performance and the duty to minimize damages.

  • Applicable Law and Jurisdiction:

  • The interpretation and enforcement of force majeure clauses are influenced by the governing law and jurisdiction specified in the contract. Leeson & Leeson's familiarity with the legal landscape in Lehigh Valley ensures an informed approach to litigation based on the unique legal framework in the region.

Contact Leeson & Leeson for Commercial Litigation Expertise Today 

In the ever-changing landscape of commercial contracts, force majeure clauses serve as crucial safeguards, allowing parties to navigate unforeseen challenges without resorting to lengthy and costly litigation. Leeson & Leeson's commitment to excellence in commercial litigation ensures that clients receive comprehensive guidance in interpreting, enforcing, or challenging force majeure clauses, thereby safeguarding their interests in an increasingly dynamic business environment. As businesses continue to face uncertainties, the strategic counsel provided by our Pennsylvania commercial litigation attorneys at Leeson & Leeson stands as a cornerstone for effective contract management and resolution of disputes.



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