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Force Majeure Litigation

When events such as war, natural disasters, labor strikes, acts of God, and pandemics disrupt business operations, a party to a contract should review the force majeure provision in its existing contracts to determine whether performance obligations can be modified or cancelled in light of the event. Whether a party may rely on such provisions or related common law doctrines to excuse contractual performance depends on the specific language of the contract and the relevant governing law.

Attorneys in Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr’s multi-disciplinary Force Majeure Litigation Team advise clients with issues related to contract performance and disputes in light of force majeure events by:

  • Reviewing existing contracts for options to delay or avoid performance obligations
  • Drafting force majeure notices
  • Responding to force majeure notices
  • Prosecuting/defending breach-of-contract litigation involving force majeure and related doctrines

Our team regularly monitors and studies trends, decisions, and laws relevant to force majeure and other contract-related doctrines across relevant jurisdictions, which help inform our counsel.


Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr attorneys have handled these select force majeure provision-related matters in the representation of:

  • A party to an agreement for a racing team sponsorship to declare a force majeure event given that several of the marquee races were cancelled and/or scheduled to be run without spectators.
  • A party in negotiations with a landlord regarding a commercial office space lease that was impacted by the pandemic.
  • A client in providing advice on common law doctrines that may allow it to terminate a hotel contract for an upcoming conference without penalty where the hotel was willing to perform but the conference attendees were prohibited from travelling due to the pandemic.
  • An international retail company regarding a dispute and alleged breach of its lease agreement in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic and mandatory lockdowns. We used force majeure, frustration of purpose, and impossibility arguments to help negotiate a successful resolution for the client and landlord.
  • A commercial sponsor in drafting a force majeure provision in a sponsorship agreement with a professional sports team.




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