With 2021 getting into full effect we still are recovering from this consequent downward spiral in our economy. This may be the most frequently asked question by future business clients that we hear and conversely the most asked question they have when trying to retain their business is “Can I still enforce this contract?” Below are a few different factors that our firm likes to address when diving into these types of claims.
When Exactly Did You Enter the Contract?
If you did enter into a contract during this offsetting period in our economy or before the COVID-19 virus became a worldwide catastrophe, then the defense may have certain enforcements of the contract to implement. This is because the rising onslaught of unemployment, for example, was not foreseeable when you entered into the contract during a booming economy. If you did enter into a contract after the pandemic and after the country of China quarantining 11 million people, then the previous defenses mentioned earlier might not be readily available. That performance of your contract may have interfered with the impression of the virus and since you were aware of COVID-19 and its consequences following it.
Does Your Contract Mention Unforeseen Events?
Usually, contracts contain a specific clause known as the “force majeure” clause, which translates to “greater force”. This refers to a superior force or as it states literally, an act of god (like a monsoon or hurricane) but is not limited to these events. If your contract states such a clause then the next point of attention should be directed to determining if a public health situation/ pandemic such as the COVID-19 would classify as a condition “beyond one’s control.” Different courts over the years have come to different conclusions regarding this topic and ignoring common sense that this would fall under an “act of God.” With that being said some precedent does exist such as SARS virus, Ebola, and other epidemics this world has had to face over the years.
Is It Impossible For The Contract To Be Completed?
In some cases, the pandemic might have made the act of completing this performance agreement impossible. A good example would be, a meat-packing delivery service that had a contract to supply the specified amount of meat to the food establishment on May 5, 2020, and the restaurant was closed for the entire month due to COVID-19, performing that task and completing the contract would be impossible. And in other cases, the effects of the pandemic may make the completion of the specified contract impractical. A client signed up for a California-based gym and signed a 6-month contract and during that time all walk-in businesses were closed and you are unable to complete the contract due to that fact. But once businesses are COVID-19 capable and the state allows these businesses to open up again then they still may want to enact that 6-month contract.
These examples point out that the answer to the question “Can I get out of this contract?” is not black and white or a simple yes or no answer, but will depend on the specific facts of your situation and the terms of your contract. No matter the circumstances Enara Law PLLC possesses the experience and skill to navigate a course that is correct for you. Please call us for a free consultation now at (602) 687-2010. Having a copy of your contract at issue and any other correspondences such as recent emails and texts with the other party involved in the contract will be most effective as a reference in your claim.