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Force-Majeure Clauses: Out of Sync with Natural Disasters?

Re-examining the way traditional force-majeure clauses hinder event planners

The wildfires that decimated the resort town of Lahaina on the Hawaiian island of Maui have brought to the fore an important question for meeting and incentive-program planners:

Is an event contract’s force-majeure clause written in a way that allows the best decision to be made about whether to hold an event after a natural disaster in a destination?

Joshua Grimes, Esq., president of Philadelphia-based Grimes Law Offices, LLC, says that it’s commonly written into meeting contracts that either party has 10 days after a natural disaster or other “act of God” incident to invoke force majeure and cancel an event. However, the case of the Maui wildfires exposes the flaw in that contract term: “Most planners can't make a decision whether to move ahead with a meeting” so soon after an incident happens because too much is still unknown at that point. “If you're the event planner—or the host hotel, which can also invoke force majeure—you would have to do so” within the next few days, he notes.

Read the full article on MeetingsNet to learn about alternatives to the traditional force-majeure.

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