In these unprecedented days, you read a lot about force majeure and “act of God” defenses to commercial contract publications. Companies affected by the current pandemic are looking to contract terms to minimize their financial losses as the pandemic forces closures and cancellations, and productivity drops off in many industries.
This post addresses a small but important subset of those contracts: “contracts” with governmental agencies, such as consent decrees or consent judgments (Orders) entered into before the pandemic that contain specific obligations or specific deadlines, as well as stipulated damages clauses if those deadlines are not met.
It is important to note that the Orders often include force majeure protections that let parties off the hook for obligations that go unfulfilled due to “acts of God” and other events beyond their control. However, lawyers must review the Orders carefully to determine what’s covered and what’s not.