The impact of COVID-19 on the retail industry has created a ripple effect that presents several economic challenges. As a result of mandatory non-essential business closures, retails stores have been among the hardest-hit businesses. Landlords and business owners alike are now closely examining their leases in an effort to determine their respective rent-related rights and obligations. That analysis typically begins and ends with the language found in force majeure clauses (sometimes titled "unavoidable delays"). But occasionally conclusions are reached prematurely concerning whether the force majeure language applies to the current pandemic and its related fallout.

WWD recently published an article penned by Partner Eric D. Sherman, a member of the real estate and litigation groups, and Counsel Marion R. Harris with contributions from Matthew Lamb, an associate in the firm's litigation group. In this article, the authors outline multiple considerations landlord and tenant alike should consider in reviewing their rights, including whether the force majeure language applies in the first place, or, instead, whether equitable doctrines apply, such as "impossibility" or "frustration of purpose."

Read the full article in WWD for more details here: Force Majeure Considerations in Retail Leases.

Originally published by WWD, 19 May 2020

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.