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How to minimize likely lawsuits from COVID-19

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By Chang Se-moon

Rightly or wrongly, numerous lawsuits will be filed in many countries affected severely by COVID-19, once the health issues from the virus are under control.

In principle, force majeure, a popular term in major commercial contracts, should keep many lawsuits from moving forward. Force majeure refers to a natural and unavoidable catastrophe that interrupts the expected course of events, or prevents a party from completing a contractual obligation. Some may call it an act of God that no ordinary person can foresee and thus is not responsible for the unintended outcome.

Reality can be complicated.

Consider a patient with flu symptoms. Medical personnel at a hospital, already overflowing with COVID-19 patients diagnose the patient as having the flu and send the patient home who later dies there. Surviving family members may file a wrongful death lawsuit against the hospital and the medical personnel who did their best under the given circumstances.

Consider exporters of a popular product under contract with buyers in other countries. Either because of a breakdown in the supply chain or because of a hectic schedule ― all caused by COVID-19 ― products were not shipped on time. Potential buyers may claim that the delay led to a........

© The Korea Times