‘Pandemic’ Not Required Wording to Enforce Force Majeure in New York Court Case

A case in the Southern District of New York may provide support of reading COVID-19 into force majeure provisions that do not expressly list “pandemic” as a basis for contract termination. In this case, Phillips Auctioneers LLC contracted with JN Contemporary to present a painting at auction in May 2020 with a guaranteed minimum of $5 million from the sale. While the contract’s force majeure did not include the word “pandemic” the court agreed that the pandemic fell under the common meaning of “natural disaster” which was included. Read more about the case here.