Force Majeure and COVID-19: Massachusetts Court Excuses Cafe from Rent Payments During Shutdown Order

On February 8, 2021, the Business Litigation Session of the Massachusetts Superior Court held that the doctrine of frustration of purpose excused a commercial food service tenant from paying rent for a four-month period during which indoor dining was prohibited. The decision comes from an influential court in Massachusetts and therefore could affect the outcome of other cases in which tenants seek concessions related to COVID-19 restrictions. However, some of the facts of the case are unique and the reasoning of the decision will not apply in all circumstances.

To read the full text of this Duane Morris Alert, please visit the firm website.

Webinar: Lessons Learned from Recent Headlines and Court Rulings on Contract Cases Across Industries

Duane Morris will be hosting the webinar, “Lessons Learned from Recent Headlines and Court Rulings on Contract Cases Across Industries,” on March 11, 2021, from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. Eastern.

This is the fourth session of the Duane Morris COVID-19: Navigating Forward Webinar Series. For more information and the registration link, please visit the firm website.

Force Majeure and COVID-19: Illinois Bankruptcy Court Rules That Force Majeure Provision Partially Excuses Rent Payments

The United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois ruled that a force majeure clause in a commercial lease partially excused a restaurant tenant from paying rent during the period of the Illinois state executive order restricting dine-in restaurant operations. This decision is one of the first to test the application of a force majeure clause in the COVID-19 pandemic.

To read the full text of this Duane Morris Alert, please visit the firm website.

Performance Under Cannabis Contracts During a Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on nearly every industry in the global economy. The nascent and volatile cannabis industry was not exempt and, in some jurisdictions, has been impacted significantly due to local or state shelter or stay-at home orders. In most states where adult-use cannabis is legal, local and state governments have deemed cannabis businesses as essential and, thus, are permitted to continue operating notwithstanding local or state shelter orders. However, despite their characterization as essential businesses, many limitations imposed by local or state shelter orders have greatly affected the way cannabis businesses operate. As a result, cannabis businesses have experienced steep declines in their revenues and, in some instances, have left cannabis businesses unable to perform contractual obligations that they entered into pre-pandemic.

To read the full text of this article by Duane Morris partner Tracy Gallegos, please visit the Cannabis Business Executive website.

Force Majeure Events and E-signatures: COVID-19 Guidance for Businesses in Vietnam

The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to many questions regarding force majeure and e-signatures. In particular, parties to commercial contracts are keen to know (i) whether they can be released from liabilities by relying on a force majeure clause and (ii) whether they can execute contracts by electronic signatures instead of the traditional “wet ink” signatures, which have become almost impossible in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

To read the full text of this post by Duane Morris Vietnam partner Giles Cooper, please visit the Duane Morris Vietnam Blog.

Is COVID-19 A Contractual “Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free” Card?

COVID 19 is having a massive impact on supply chains and business continuity and, post lockdown, questions will be asked about who pays for this. The knee-jerk response of many businesses is that the pandemic is a unique, unforeseeable “Act of God” and that businesses which have furloughed staff or been forced to close during the lockdown or have had difficulties with their own supply chains or customers reducing purchase volumes, have no liabilities to or remedies against others for the consequent losses sustained. The reality is that on a case by case basis, businesses already adversely affected by this pandemic may find that contractual claims are being made against them or that they have a route to mitigate their losses by looking at their own contractual or statutory rights.

To read the full text of this post by Duane Morris partner Susan Laws, please visit the Duane Morris London Blog.

COVID-19 in Vietnam: Implementation of Laws Not Unified in All Provinces

The COVID-19 outbreak has been declared a public health emergency of international concern by the World Health Organization, causing huge impact on people’s lives, families and communities. Organizations are under certain concerns about the continuity of their business as how long the pandemic lasts for, a possible suspension order, unwanted contract terminations, force majeure issues, reduction of price, etc.

To read the full text of this blog post explaining the latest update on the Government’s instruction on the business continuity by Duane Morris Vietnam partner Oliver Massmann, please visit the Duane Morris Vietnam Blog.

Vietnam’s Renewable Energy Industry Amid Covid-19: Facts, Force Majeure and (Patchy) Government Support

Vietnam’s renewable energy development over the past three or so years can variously be described as frenetic, chaotic and heartening. Look past all the noise about non-bankable agreements, insufficient transmission infrastructure and bureaucratic black holes, and it’s clear the market has spoken. Vietnam currently has the largest installed solar capacity in Southeast Asia and is taking strides on wind too. Between May and July 2019, an incredible 82 ground mounted solar plants were connected to the national grid (total of 4,464 MW), more than 400% the target that had been set for 2020. The Ministry of Industry and Trade recently announced that the country is aiming to boost power output produced by renewable energy to about 23% by 2030.

The sector as a whole is also poised on the brink of a new phase. Feed in tariffs are coming to an end, low hanging fruit projects have been developed and local banks’ capacity to continue to finance development is stressed. Meanwhile, energy demand rises steadily and right-minded global citizens are clamoring for an end to coal and a rapid transition to renewable energy sources.

Into this heady mix arrived a novel corona virus and the disease known as COVID-19.

To read the full text of this post by Duane Morris Vietnam partner Giles Cooper, please visit the Duane Morris Vietnam Blog.

Construction and Engineering in the UK in Challenging Times

The COVID -19 pandemic has already had a massive effect on global economies. Its impact has been unprecedented and there is a degree of uncertainty on almost every facet of daily life.

To read the full text of this post, which seeks to touch upon issues that may affect those in the UK construction industry specifically (though certain elements will no doubt equally apply across other sectors), please visit the Duane Morris Construction Law Blog.