Legal Committee: “Contracts, Covid, and Contentious Cases: How to Enforce (or Excuse) Performance in Covid-19 Crisis”.

Legal Committee: “Contracts, Covid, and Contentious Cases:  How to Enforce (or Excuse) Performance in Covid-19 Crisis”. 

Covid-19 has upended many business operations, requiring business leaders to re-examine existing contractual obligations. On April 10, the AMCHAM legal committee hosted a video conference  on “Contracts, Covid, and Contentious Cases:  How to Enforce (or Excuse) Performance in Covid-19 Crisis”.

David Beckstead, Counsel at Chandler MHM, walked participants through key issues to consider in the current environment, advising all companies to conduct a material contract review in order to take a proactive stance in assessing their legal risks.

The presentation touched on the key contract clauses, including:

  • Deadlines for performance and the consequences linked to non-performance. Deadlines measured in “business days” may have a different timeframe depending on how those are defined.
  • Force majeure. Often overlooked, this clause has taken on heightened importance in recent weeks, but the applicability remains very case specific, depending on the governing law of the contract and specific terms (open-ended or closed list).
  • Contract termination. Again, companies need to consider their contractual language carefully. Termination carries risks, such as claims for damages if termination is not well founded; similarly actions taken to manage business considerations might have unintended consequences if they trigger contract termination.

The presentation was followed by a substantial Q&A period.

 

 

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