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The COVID-19 pandemic is resulting in landlords and tenants closely reviewing a clause in their lease that was long considered unimportant boilerplate. Yes, we are referring to the “force majeure” provision. “Force majeure” is translated from French as “superior strength” and is often thought of an act of God or act of nature. Black’s law dictionary defines it as “a contractual provision allocating the risk of loss if performance becomes impossible or impracticable, especially as a result of an event or effect that the parties could not have anticipated or controlled.” In the coming months many conversations will take place regarding the applicability of the force majeure clause to closures related to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the related doctrine of impossibility.
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By Terrence Dunn
Can a commercial tenant that is required to be closed during the COVID-19 pandemic be relieved of, or does it have a defense to, the obligation to continue to pay rent? The short answer is possibly yes, but the situation is unprecedented and the answer may have to be determined in litigation.
By Ira Fierstein
There are currently several bills in various stages of being passed into law in several states as of early April, which would restrict, on a temporary basis, the eviction of commercial tenants from their leased premises for failure to pay rent, Whether these bills get signed into law and survive judicial scrutiny remains to be seen. The question then is whether a landlord may enforce the security deposit section of its lease and take the deposit should the tenant miss a rent payment.
By Barry Steel
Five options available that leasing and financing can help law firms not only to deploy their business continuity requirements in the short term, but also improving liquidity now and better position the firm for their future.
By Andrew C. Kassner and Joseph N. Argentina Jr.
As we prepare for the anticipated increase in bankruptcy filings caused by the COVID-19 pandemic's impact on the economy, many practitioners are trying to compare this to the savings and loan crisis of the late 1980s. One of the issues that keeps coming up cycle after cycle is whether a personal guaranty of a commercial lease is discharged in the bankruptcy of the individual guarantor. Court decisions have split on this issue for years.