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The Legal Consequences of Canceling an Event Due to the Coronavirus

Web Admin - Monday, March 16, 2020

Schaumburg breach of contract lawyer coronavirusAs a result of the growing threat from the coronavirus, numerous events have been canceled, postponed, or modified out of fear that this virus might continue to spread and put attendees’ health in jeopardy. Some sporting events have been canceled or postponed, such as international rugby games, FIFA World Cup qualifiers, and the NCAA March Madness tournament. In addition, many sporting activities have adapted with the times: some events will not allow crowds, and most professional leagues in the U.S. have restricted locker-room access.

In terms of cultural events, the South by Southwest festival has been canceled. Annual St. Patrick’s Day parades in both Ireland and Boston have been canceled. In addition, many conferences and other educational opportunities have been canceled. With so many events being canceled due to the coronavirus, understanding how you can legally safeguard your company against such cancelations and postponements is critically important, especially when it comes to corporate law.

Breach of Contract and Force Majeure Provisions


The easiest way to make sure you are covered in case the coronavirus causes the cancellation or postponement of your event is to review your contract and see if it contains any force majeure provisions. A force majeure clause in a contract enables both parties to legally breach the contract. However, for something to be considered “force majeure,” it must meet the following requirements:
 
  • - The events must be unavoidable and unforeseeable.
  • - The events must not be a consequence of either party’s actions.

Most force majeure arguments imply there was an “Act of God” involved. Some examples of force majeure include:

  • - Unpredicted natural disasters like earthquakes and tornadoes
  • - A war or other type of massive violent activity like riots
  • - Government laws taking effect that prevent the event from taking place

What to Do if You Have to Cancel an Event Due to the Coronavirus


If your contract has a force majeure clause, you should check to see if it explicitly enumerates epidemics like the coronavirus as a possible reason for not being able to complete what is expected from the contract. In those cases, any breach of contract charge brought against you will probably be dismissed.

If, however, you do not have epidemics specifically spelled out in the force majeure clause, then you may need to defend against a breach of contract claim. If your contract has no force majeure clause at all, the case would revert to the common law doctrine of “impossibility of performance,” which states that an unforeseen circumstance has rendered your execution of the contract objectively impossible. When addressing these issues, you should work with an attorney to determine the best strategy for demonstrating that you should not be held liable for a breach of contract.

Upon reviewing your contract, if you find that there is no force majeure clause, or if the clause contained therein does not address epidemics, you may want to add that to a newer draft of that contract and all future drafts. If you enumerate epidemics in your contract, you will not be held in breach of contract. It is also a good idea to include contingency plans in case an epidemic like the coronavirus does cause you to cancel an event, such as plans for rescheduling.

Contact a Palatine Corporate Lawyer


The coronavirus is having a significant effect on the economy. This means that more events will be canceled, and more companies could be considered in breach of their contracts for not hosting a promised event as agreed to in the contract. If your business is faced with this predicament, contact an Inverness breach of contract attorney with the experience necessary to renegotiate your contract or prove that it is impossible for you to fulfill the obligations of your contract. Give Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC, at 847-934-6000 a call for a free consultation.

About the Author: Attorney Jay Andrew is a founding partner of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC. He is a graduate of the University of Dayton School of Law and has been practicing in estate planning, probate, trust administration, real estate law, residential/ commercial leasing, contracts, and civil litigation. Since 2005, Jay has been a Chair of the Mock Trial Committee for the Annual Northwest Suburban Bar Association High School Mock Trial Invitation which serves over 240 local Illinois students each year.
 

Sources:

https://www.nytimes.com/article/cancelled-events-coronavirus.html

https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/force_majeure

https://www.natlawreview.com/article/coronavirus-factors-insurance-industry-to-consider-part-2-event-cancellation-and

Why Your LLC Needs an Operating Agreement

Web Admin - Tuesday, March 18, 2014

illinois corporate attorney llcsLimited Liability Companies (LLCs) are a form of business structure that allows owners to have some of the benefits of a standard corporation, but with more flexibility to control the particulars of the business. This flexibility makes it important to make thoughtful choices about things like voting rules and members’ rights and responsibilities at the start of the formation process. That is where the LLC operating agreement comes in. While operating agreements are not required by law in Illinois, it is still highly beneficial to have them because of the extra control that they provide.

What is an Operating Agreement?

An operating agreement is a document that controls the structure of the company and the members’ relationships. This can mean many different things, but operating agreements often include provisions related to:

  • - Each member’s percentage of ownership;
  • - Management of the LLC- Member Managed v. Manager Managed;
  • - The rights and responsibilities of the different members;
  • - Voting powers and dispute resolution mechanisms;
  • - Voting and meeting procedures; and
  • - Conditions relating to the sale of the LLC and the members’ related rights.

The Benefits of an Operating Agreement

Given the importance of the types of provisions that operating agreements contain, each LLC should have one, even if it is not technically required by law. The law forgoes this requirement because the legislature drafted a set of default rules to apply to LLCs for cases in which the members decide not to draft an operating agreement. While people often rely on these default rules, that is not the best strategy for their business. The major benefit of the LLC is the freedom and control provided by the operating agreement, so skipping the drafting of the operating agreement defeats the purpose.

This is especially problematic because often times the default rules do not make the most sense for a particular business. For instance, most actions under the default rules require only a simple majority vote of the members to be approved. Drafting an operating agreement would allow the members to introduce supermajority votes and other control provisions on more important issues. Similarly, another central issue to any business is the distribution of profits.

In Illinois, the default rule is that distributions must be made in equal shares to all of the members. This rule seldom makes sense for businesses in which different members have invested different amounts. People often want to tie their distribution to the members’ stakes in the company, which requires a separate provision in the operating agreement. Of course, these are just some of the many choices that operating agreements allow LLC members to make about their business and its structure.

If you are in the process of forming an LLC and need an operating agreement tailored to your business’s specific concerns, contact an Illinois corporate law attorney. We help businesses across the northwest suburbs in towns like Rolling Meadows, Palatine, Schaumburg, and Inverness.

About the Author: Attorney Jay Andrew is founding partner of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC. He is a graduate of the University of Dayton School of Law and has been practicing in estate planning, probate, trust administration, real estate law, residential/commercial leasing, contracts, and civil litigation. Since 2005, Jay has been a Chair of the Mock Trial Committee for the Annual Northwest Suburban Bar Association High School Mock Trial Invitation which serves over 240 local Illinois students each year.


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