July 30, 2020 – DHC Partners Robert Rattet, Derek Wolman, and William Mack, with Of Counsel James Glucksman published an op-ed in the New York Law Journal discussing the application of the force majeure English common law doctrine – unforeseeable circumstances that prevent someone from fulfilling a contract – to modern contract law.
The force majeure doctrine was used more than one hundred years ago to void a lease for a Pall Mall apartment rented to watch the procession for the coronation of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra of the United Kingdom. The event was cancelled and the leaseholder argued, successfully, that the cancellation undermined the purpose of the lease.
Today, as businesses in New York and throughout the United States navigate COVID-19 lockdowns that have prevented many of them from operating at full service, such as retail stores, hotels, and restaurants, Davidoff Hutcher & Citron LLP’s attorneys have argued that the force majeure doctrine applies, and should allow for the modification or termination of a lease where the leaseholder’s business cannot conduct normal operations.
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