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The coronavirus has had a major impact on many industries. In the construction industry, some projects have come to a complete halt while others are limping along amid supply chain delays. If the coronavirus has impacted your construction project, a knowledgeable construction attorney in Florida can help provide you with the solid legal advice and representation you need to guide you during this difficult time.
Force Majeure Provisions
A knowledgeable construction law attorney can explain that one of the most important things to look for right now is what your force majeure provision says. This contract provision can help provide relief to parties who are adversely affected by events they did not consider at the time of making the contract, which may include a pandemic. It may do any of the following, depending on how the provision is worded:
In Florida, force majeure provisions are narrowly construed, and the court will generally only enforce this provision if the particular event is identified. In the case of coronavirus, this may include certain things as “pandemic,” “quarantine,” “government orders,” “labor shortages,” “epidemic,” or “supply shortages.” Unlike many other states, the event to enact this provision did not have to be completely foreseeable as long as it was not inherent in contracting. Typically, a party seeking to enforce a force majeure provision in Florida must be able to show that the underlying event was outside the party’s control, could not have been prevented or overcome, and the event is not due to the party’s fault or negligence.
Even if you have a force majeure provision, you may want to schedule a consultation with a construction law attorney in Florida who can evaluate your clause and determine if it will likely excuse performance. You may also need to weigh the overall impact of acting under this provision.
The frustration of Purpose Doctrine
Even if your force majeure provision does not hold, the best construction attorneys will look for other potential avenues of relief, such as under the frustration of purpose doctrine. This doctrine applies to situations in which an unforeseeable frustration totally or nearly destroys the purpose of the agreement. This defense arises in situations in which a party entering into a contract has discussed their purpose for the contract and the other party is aware of this purpose but some frustration arose that was not anticipated that caused the alleged breaching party not to receive the benefit of the bargain made under the contract.
Other Legal Concerns
Contractors and construction firm owners may need assistance navigating through the uncharted legal territory caused in the wake of COVID-19. Christopher Weiss Attorney at Law, P.A. can provide legal assistance and guidance Our construction attorney in Florida can discuss other legal concerns you may have, such as loss of productivity claims, change orders, delays, notice requirements, record-keeping, employee termination, supply shortage issues, mechanic’s liens, and other issues you may be encountering.