As the COVID-19 crisis rapidly evolves, the health and safety of our employees, clients and our communities remain our highest priority. We wanted to share with you what we are doing as a firm. We have instructed attorneys and staff in all of our offices to work remotely (with rare exception for certain critical functions). This is happening seamlessly as part of our business continuity plan. We have been working round-the-clock in counseling clients on today’s mission-critical issues, from employment to immigration to tax, as it relates to the outbreak of COVID-19. Like you, we are constantly monitoring the situation, and we will provide additional updates in the coming days and weeks as appropriate. In the meantime, we want you to know that our thoughts are with you and your families, and we hope that you remain healthy and safe.
In an effort to support you during these uncertain times, we have assembled a firm-wide COVID-19 response team from all of our practice areas. For the coming weeks, and starting today in this alert, we intend to send a consolidated communication alert on a regular basis that touches on breaking news and relevant items that could affect you or your business across a range of topics. If there is anything else that we can do to help you during this challenging time, please do not hesitate in reaching out.
Escalating health concerns, governmental restrictions, empty shelves at retailers, supply chain disruptions, and wild gyrations in the financial markets. The COVID-19 virus and steps taken to reduce its spread are impacting more businesses in more ways each day.
In order to put yourself in the best position to weather this storm and recover as quickly as possible, it is vital that you consider and fully understand the defenses you or your business partners may have under your contracts, and whether you have any insurance coverage for your COVID-19 losses. Continue reading “Coronavirus Business Interruption”
There are a bunch of other things going on when it comes to international trade, but the most concerning topic right now is the coronavirus or COVID-19. From a purely business continuity perspective, we are receiving lots of inquiries around the following question: “Can we get out of our contracts by invoking the force majeure clauses?” Such a clause allows parties to cancel contracts when events occur which are both beyond their control but also totally unexpected. A typical illustration would be an “Act of God.” First, make sure your contract includes a force majeure clause, because if not, that could present a significant uphill and costly battle. Given the widespread losses which are likely to result, it is reasonable to anticipate companies of any size will, so to speak, “stick to their guns” in trying to “spread the pain.”
Assuming such a clause is present in your contract, what does it say? An example of one recently presented includes among its examples: “… strikes, riots, floods, storms, earthquakes, fires, power failures, natural disasters, pandemics, insurrection, acts of God, or for any cause beyond the control of” the named party. Is that language sufficient to permit cancellation under the current circumstances of the COVID-19 outbreak? Probably so, since it mentions pandemics and the World Health Organization has labeled the outbreak as such, but would this language have been broad enough to cover the situation a month ago? Maybe not. Continue reading “COVID-19 and the Trade Community”