Historically, “Act of God” was defined to encompass sickness, but the concept has evolved, and it is unclear whether, in the absence of an express reference to epidemics in a force majeure clause, courts will find COVID-19 to be an Act of God. In “Tour de Force: What Constitutes an ‘Act of God,’ and Other Developments in Force Majeure Law,” colleagues Andrew C. Smith, Anne C. Lefever, Brian L. Beckerman, Stephanie S. Gomez and Colin Davis discuss the contours of the term “Act of God” and briefly cover new developments in case law regarding the doctrine of force majeure.
Over the past few months, construction projects in most states have carried on because construction was deemed essential and projects were exempted from government orders that closed businesses. In the jurisdictions that halted construction operations, state and local authorities are now easing those restrictions and allowing construction to resume. In “Safety Measures for Construction Projects During the COVID-19 Pandemic,” colleagues Laura Bourgeois LoBue and Jose L. Lua-Valencia discuss just how different construction sites will be than they were a few months ago under this new normal.
A recent court order issued as part of an ongoing litigation involving a Manhattan hotel held that a mezzanine lender may proceed with a UCC foreclosure sale of the mezzanine loan collateral despite N.Y.E.O. 202.8, which prevents creditors from initiating judicial foreclosures. In “Distressed Real Estate During COVID-19: New York State Court Order Finds UCC Foreclosures Are Not Suspended by New York E.O. 202.8.,” colleague Caroline A. Harcourt addresses the court’s denial of injunctive relief to the UCC foreclosure and determination that damages were an adequate remedy may have significant effects even after the COVID-19 pandemic, and also to mezzanine borrowers considering their defenses to UCC foreclosure proceedings.