Welcome to the Kazi Law Firm! We are a boutique law firm steeped in Texas tradition personifying the warmth and congeniality consistent with southern hospitality. We believe in preserving integrity and professionalism with true Texan charm, staying true to our roots, while providing essential, affordable legal services to all. Located just north of Dallas, Texas in the rapidly growing suburb of Frisco; the Kazi Law Firm concentrates on contracts drafting and review, immigration law, will & estates, real estate law, landlord, tenant, mediation, and general business law needs.

In contract review and drafting, lawyers usually include a force majeure clause (aka “act of God” clause). If you’ve ever read a commercial contract, you’ve probably come across a force majeure clause. At the time, you probably wondered, what exactly a force majeure clause is, but contracts are long, tedious, and riddled with Latin sounding clauses, so you breezed past it without raising an eyebrow. For others of a more inquisitive nature, you may have been told it’s standard “boilerplate” when you asked a few questions about it. I believe it’s crucial to understand every bit of language in a contract before signing on the dotted line.

Force majeure is a Latin phrase that means “superior force.” It’s a standard clause in commercial contracts that gives the parties a way to deal with unexpected disasters, like war, fire, earthquakes, hurricanes, epidemics, terrorist acts, and the like. This clause is also sometimes referred to as an “act of God” clause or as lawyers jokingly refer to it is the “hell or high water” clause.

Essentially, this contract clause excuses some or all of the parties from their contractual obligations when a force majeure event happens and/or divides the risk between the parties if such an event occurs. How this is done depends on the circumstances of each particular contract and is often a topic of negotiation by the parties.

Now, lets talk about specific examples to further illustrate the force majeure clause in action. For example, an economic disaster, such as the stock market crash of 2008, wasn’t recognized by courts as a force majeure event. Therefore, you should not assume you can get out of your contractual obligations because economic disaster strikes. Further, there has been much chatter about Covid-19 recently and whether or not this pandemic falls under the force majeure clause.

In my personal practice, I have dealt with splitting hairs over this clause. Most contracts, prior to Covid-19, were written to include “epidemics” but no mention of the word “pandemic.” Webster’s defines an epidemic as “an outbreak of disease that spreads quickly and affects many individuals at the same time in a localized area.” A pandemic is a type of epidemic (one with greater range and coverage), an outbreak of a disease that occurs over a wide geographic area and affects an exceptionally high proportion of the population. While a pandemic may be characterized as a type of epidemic, you would not say that an epidemic is a type of pandemic. As you can infer, this battle of semantics is currently taking the world of contracts by storm. Some parties are using Covid-19 as a shield, while others are using it as a sword in their battle over contractual responsibilities.

Additionally, some legislators argue that the force majeure clause needs to be modified or re-named arguing that climate change should theoretically kill the “act of God.” This isn’t a theological discussion, but based broadly on two criteria that qualify an event as an act of God under the force majeure clause:

  1. No human agency could have stopped the event, and
  2. No human agency could have exercised due care to prevent or avoid the event’s effects

In other words, acts of God must be unpredictable, and their damage must be unpreventable. On that basis alone, the act of God is nearly obsolete, or at least it should be. While specific weather events such as hurricanes or fires may seem to be acts of God on the surface, our growing knowledge of climate systems challenges any vision of weather divorced from human activity. Humans meddle with the climate, which meddles with the weather, and the two can’t be extricated. Climate change is a highly contested issue for both democrats and republicans and this blog post is not meant to wade in those warm waters, at this time.

I built my law practice on the premise of being a life raft in a sea of sharks. I want to be an advocate for those that have been wronged and are too intimidated to seek help. My firm is here to explore your options, guide you through your legal journey, and give you that safe space to ask questions! There’s no such thing as a stupid question…Only the ones you don’t ask. So, my question to my clients is not “do you have any questions?” But rather “what questions do you have?”

As always, the Kazi Law Firm is standing by to help you in your time of need. Don’t hesitate to contact us today. We specialize in real estate law, landlord-tenant disputes, immigration, and wills & estate planning. Family is at the core of our practice. Just as we treat our family with respect and understanding, we treat yours. Come join the Kazi Law Firm family today!

Why swim alone in shark-infested waters when you don’t need to?