Contract Disputes from COVID-19: Force Majeure Checklist


CLE credits earned: 1 GENERAL (or 1 LAW & LEGAL for WA state)

A party to a contract may under certain circumstances be excused from performing a contractual obligation when the failure to perform is caused by a “fortuitous event” that makes performance impossible. Whether COVID-19 and related events, such as the pandemic declaration by the World Health Organization, government travel bans, or government declarations, constitute force majeure that impact contractual performance obligations depends on the language of the contract. Jones Walker partners Seth Levine, Cindy Muller, and Graham Ryan will provide webinar participants with a “checklist” that can be used while talking about force majeure provisions with their clients.

Key topics to be discussed:

•   Various ways of interpreting force majeure provisions
•   Defenses and remedies found in the absence of a force majeure provision
•   Demanding adequate assurance of performance

Date / Time: April 16, 2020

•   2:00 pm – 3:00 pm Eastern
•   1:00 pm – 2:00 pm Central
•   12:00 pm – 1:00 pm Mountain
•   11:00 pm – 12:00 pm Pacific

Choose a format:

•   Live Video Broadcast/Re-Broadcast: Watch Program “live” in real-time, must sign-in and watch program on date and time set above. May ask questions during presentation via chat box. Qualifies for “live” CLE credit.
•   On-Demand Video: Access CLE 24/7 via on-demand library and watch program anytime. Qualifies for self-study CLE credit. On-demand versions are made available 5 business days after the original recording date and are view-able for up to one year.

Select your state to see if this class is approved for CLE credit.

Choose the format you want.


Original Broadcast Date: April 16, 2020

Seth Levine, Esq. is a partner in the Corporate Practice Group and co-chair of the Industrial, Petrochemical & Advanced Manufacturing Industry Team. Seth has a wide-ranging practice primarily focused on the energy industry. In addition to his other leadership positions at the firm, he is co-lead of the midstream and infrastructure practice, which is part of Jones Walker’s Energy, Environmental & Natural Resources Industry Team, and co-lead of the commercial transactions team of the Corporate Practice Group.

Seth regularly advises clients on commercial transactions that are often complex and crucial to a company’s success, as well as on diverse energy-related issues such as:
• Oil and gas processing
• Oil, gas, and petrochemical transportation and gathering agreements
• Master service contracts and agreements for offshore and onshore oilfield service and petrochemical companies
• Operation and maintenance, and administrative service agreements
• Storage and terminalling services agreements and related facilities project development for hydrocarbons, petrochemicals, and other industrial products
• All aspects of development, diligence, and financing in connection with the development and operation of energy, petrochemical, and other industrial infrastructure projects, including LNG facilities, petrochemical complexes, pipelines, liquid and gas storage facilities, and floating production systems
• Site acquisitions, including surface rights, mineral issues, and title
• Renewable energy site acquisition, diligence, financing, and structuring

Additionally, he has extensive experience in project infrastructure financing, land acquisitions, servitude acquisitions, mineral issues, surveys, and all other real estate matters, including all aspects of commercial and industrial real estate development, diligence, title, industrial and commercial leasing, and land use matters.

Seth’s clients include administrative and collateral agents, lenders, project operators and developers, working interest owners, leaseholders, natural gas, oil, and petrochemical pipeline and storage companies, and oilfield service companies, as well as privately and publicly held oil and gas exploration companies, renewable and solar energy developers, and manufacturing companies.

Cindy Muller, Esq. is a partner and participates in the Energy, Environmental & Natural Resources and Maritime Industry Teams. She represents a broad range of companies, from large multinational EPC contractors to private equity portfolio companies, doing business in the energy and construction industries, on capital projects and commercial transactions, and compliance functions.

Cindy has more than 27 years of legal and executive experience as general counsel; vice president, legal; and chief compliance officer, advising global oiled service companies. As a result of this client-side experience, she has broad knowledge of issues facing general counsels, a distinct understanding of energy and construction industry legal and business issues, and brings efficient, practical solutions to her clients. She has significant transactional experience, including drafting and negotiating domestic and international engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) agreements, related subcontract, and master service agreements. She also has maritime transactional and regulatory experience, which includes advising on Jones Act ownership and compliance issues and coastwise trade regulations. Her transactional experience includes work onshore and offshore involving drafting and negotiation of charter parties, contracts of affreightment, and construction and decommissioning agreements.

In the corporate arena, she has drafted, developed, and implemented entire compliance programs and policies for international service companies and has advised on domestic and international joint ventures and M&A transactions.

Graham H. Ryan, Esq. is a partner in the Litigation Practice Group. Graham resolves complex business disputes through civil litigation and appeals in federal and state courts for a diverse group of clients spanning numerous industries. He serves on the boards of numerous organizations.

Graham concentrates his practice on commercial civil litigation in federal and state courts and has extensive experience in Louisiana substantive and procedural law and appeals. He has cross-industry litigation experience in the areas of business disputes, breach of contract, torts, real estate and construction, banking and financial services litigation, and other areas of complex commercial litigation. Graham represents a cross-industry regional and national client base that spans banking, healthcare, construction, and energy. In addition to his trial and appellate practice, Graham has developed a focus on pre-trial strategy and resolution and has successfully resolved many complex cases through summary judgment and dispositive relief in advance of trial.

Graham is an active member of the legal profession and the community at the local, statewide, and national levels. He has served on the board of numerous professional organizations, including the Louisiana State Law Institute, the American Bar Association YLD, the Louisiana Bar Association YLD, the New Orleans Association of Defense Counsel, and the Jefferson Parish Bar Association YLD. He was elected to represent Louisiana in the American Bar Association House of Delegates, which establishes national policy on issues pertaining to the legal professional and the public. He was named a Fellow of the Louisiana Bar Foundation and has served as the Louisiana Delegate to US Fifth Circuit Judicial Conference. Graham also served as co-chair of the Litigation Committee for the American Bar Association YLD, the largest young lawyer organization in the world with more than 150,000 members.

In his community, Graham is past chairman of Hands-On New Orleans, a nonprofit volunteer center formed in the wake of Hurricane Katrina that has engaged more than 60,000 volunteers to rebuild southern Louisiana. He was also chair of Barristers for Boards, a collaboration with the United Way to train and place lawyers on the boards of directors of Louisiana nonprofits. Graham serves as a volunteer attorney to the homeless and veteran population in New Orleans through Project H.E.L.P. (Homeless Experience Legal Protection) and volunteers with The Pro Bono Project. He was named a fellow of the Loyola Institute of Politics and is a graduate of several leadership institutes.

Graham also leads several access-to-justice initiatives. He served a three-year term leading Louisiana’s Disaster Legal Services program, which provides free legal assistance to low-income Louisianans following a presidentially declared disaster, and which helped a record-setting 4,300 Louisianans displaced by the historic Louisiana flood of 2016. Graham also led Louisiana’s first justice hackathon, which paired app developers with public interest lawyers to develop smartphone apps that provide legal help to low-income residents.

Before joining Jones Walker, Graham served as a judicial extern for the Louisiana Supreme Court. He also studied law at Université Jean Moulin Lyon 3 in France, where he received an award for his studies on constitutional law and the European Union.

Accreditation Policy
myLawCLE seeks accreditation for all programs in all states. (Accreditation for paralegals sought thru NALA and NFPA paralegal associations.) Each attending attorney/paralegal will receive a certificate of completion following the close of the CLE program as proof of attendance. In required states, myLawCLE records attorney/paralegals attendance, in all other states attorney/paralegal is provided with the approved CLE certificate to submit to their state bar or governing association.

    Automatic MCLE Approvals

All myLawCLE CLE programs are accredited automatically either directly or via reciprocity in the following states: AK, AR, CA, CT, FL, HI, ME, MO, MT, ND, NH, NM, NJ, NY, and VT. (AZ does not approve CLE programs, but accepts our certificates for CLE credit.)

    Live Video Broadcasts

Live video broadcasts are new live CLE programs being streamed and recorded for the first time. All of these programs qualify for “Live” CLE credit in all states except NV, OH, MS, IN, UT, PA, GA, and LA —these states require in-person attendance to qualify for “Live” CLE credit.

    “Live” Re-Broadcasts

“Live” Re-broadcasts are replays of previous recorded CLE programs, set on a specific date and time and where the original presenting speakers calls in live at the end of the event to answer questions. This “live” element allows for “live” Re-broadcast CLEs to qualify for “Live” CLE credits in most states. [The following states DO NOT allow for “live” CLE credits on re-broadcast CLEs: NV, OH, MS, IN, UT, PA, GA, and LA]

Many states allow for credit to be granted on a 1:1 reciprocal basis for courses approved in another mandatory CLE jurisdiction state. This is known as a reciprocity provision and includes the following states: AK, AR, HI, CT, FL, ME, MO, MT, ND, NH, NM, VT, NJ, and NY. myLawCLE does not seek direct accreditation of live webinars or teleconferences in these states.