Force Majeure clauses are found in many contracts. Here’s a link explaining how they work along with some contract drafting strategies:
These force majeure clauses have recently become especially relevant. Here’s a coronavirus-related case:
Let’s assume this is the clause used in the Metropolitan Opera contract:
Force Majeure (Links to an external site.). Neither party shall be liable for any costs or damages due to delay or nonperformance under this services contract arising out of any cause or event beyond such party’s control, including, without limitation, cessation of services hereunder or any damages resulting therefrom to the other party as a result of work stoppage, power or other mechanical failure, computer virus, natural disaster, governmental action, or communication disruption.
Use this clause to answer these questions:
1) What case will the Metropolitan Opera make to excuse its performance?
2) What argument can the performers make that the coronavirus disruption does not apply here?
3) In the end, who determines whether or not this clause applies?
4) Should these clauses be allowed in any contracts for personal services for those in performing arts? How about accountants or other professionals? Should the hiring party accept the risk or should it fall on the party providing services?