COVID-19 Litigation Update: Contractual Defenses


CLE credits earned: 1 General Credit (WA 1 Law and Legal)

This program, presented by Ice Miller LLP attorneys Drew Miroff, Christina Fugate, and Audrey Howard, will discuss recent developments and case law specific to the enforceability of force majeure clauses and other contractual provisions to excuse performance impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as other contract defenses such as impossibility, impracticability, and frustration of purpose. This program will highlight recent examples from courts located throughout the county and will further consider how these case developments could impact force majeure language in new contracts going forward.

Key topics to be discussed:

• Overview of force majeure; common law defenses of impossibility, impracticability, and frustration of purposes.
• Discussion of recent case law addressing the applicability of force majeure clauses and other contract defenses in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
• Practical contractual considerations for clients and businesses amid the second wave of the pandemic.

Date / Time: December 9, 2020

•   1:00 pm – 2:00 pm Eastern
•   12:00 pm – 1:00 pm Central
•   11:00 am – 12:00 pm Mountain
•   10:00 am – 11:00 am Pacific

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•   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.

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Original Broadcast Date: December 9, 2020

Christine Fugate | Ice Miller

Christina Fugate chairs Ice Miller’s Franchise and Distribution team. More than just an advocate for her clients, Christina is dedicated to serving as a trusted advisor who helps clients solve problems and expand their businesses. Responsive, thoughtful and strategic, Christina is a counsellor who remains focused on her client’s end game.

An understandable, diplomatic communicator who takes the time to really listen to what each client needs to succeed, Christina advises entrepreneurs and emerging franchisors in determining whether franchising is the right model to grow and maintain their brands and whether they are ready to franchise. Christina counsels clients on compliance with state and federal regulatory issues and offers extensive skill in advising growing and experienced franchise systems. With more than a decade of experience representing franchise clients in a variety of commercial litigation matters, Christina advises on resolving disputes pertaining to contracts, non-competition covenants, protection of trademarks and trade secrets, among others.

A smart and practical advocate, Christina provides litigation counsel to a number of different clients in a variety of industries. She regularly defends Fortune 500 manufacturers, distributors and retailers against product liability, warranty and indemnification claims. She also frequently counsels clients with respect to real estate disputes and general competitive business litigation, as well as assists clients in conducting internal investigations.

An active member of the International Franchise Association, Christina completed the Association’s Certified Franchise Executive designation. She is also an active member of the ABA Forum on Franchising, has written several articles for the ABA Franchise Journal and has been a featured speaker at the Forum’s annual meeting. In the community, Christina serves as President of Butler University’s Central Indiana Alumni Chapter and a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council for Butler University’s Lacy School of Business. She is also a member of the IndyCREW Board of Directors, President of Heritage Place of Indianapolis, Inc., and Secretary of Project 44, Inc. Notably, Christina is the co-founder of the Women’s Network Forum.
Drew Miroff | Ice Miller

Drew Miroff is a partner in the Business Litigation Group. He concentrates his practice in complex litigation focusing on supply chain, products, business and land use litigation. Drew is frequently described as an aggressive, yet practical litigator who gets to the heart of the issues in an effort to find quick, efficient, and favorable solutions to his client’s business disputes. In this part of his litigation practice, Drew represents businesses in virtually all aspects of their litigation including supply chain disputes (UCC disputes, service disputes, termination of supplier contracts, supplier stop ship treats, distributor agreements, etc.),business torts and contract disputes (including unfair competition, non-compete/non-solicitation enforcement, proprietary information protection, business separations, etc.), real estate matters (contractual, zoning and condemnation actions) as well as product, premises, and asbestos related liability claims.

For many years Drew also worked with both the underground and surface mining industry with respect to citations and orders issued by the Mine Safety Health Administration.

While looking for out-of-court solutions where possible, Drew and his team have successfully tried cases in traditional Court settings as well as less-traditional arbitration settings. Drew is also frequently in state and federal courts seeking and defending against temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions, and other forms of emergency relief.

In addition to his litigation practice, Drew’s calm, thoughtful, no-nonsense style and broad risk management experience frequently leads to his involvement as part of the client’s strategic team. In this role, Drew works with clients to identify areas of risk and then develop and implement mitigation and litigation avoidance strategies. In addition, Drew routinely helps guide clients through catastrophic incident and crisis situations, including conducting and directing external and internal investigations.

Drew’s litigation and risk management experience spans a wide array of industries including agriculture, manufacturing, heavy duty industrial and commercial equipment and components manufacturers, apartment management, construction, energy, mining, commercial real estate and a multitude of general service providers.

Drew is from Indianapolis, Indiana. He received his Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Michigan in 1996, with high honors. In 1999, he earned his juris doctor, cum laude, from Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago, Illinois. While attending law school, he was a member of the National Moot Court Team, the co-chairperson for the Julius Miner Moot Court Competition and served on the SBA Admissions Committee.
Drew joined Ice Miller in 1999.
Audrey Howard | Ice Miller

Audrey Howard is a senior associate in the Firm’s litigation group, providing risk management and litigation services for a wide range of commercial matters and clients. Audrey focuses her practice in defending and advising manufacturers, distributers, and retailers. Audrey has defended companies in several types of complex litigation, including national class actions, multi-district litigation cases, product liability matters, premises liability matters, warranty matters, and indemnification claims. Additionally, Audrey has experience defending a variety of businesses in general competitive business litigation matters. Audrey has represented clients in numerous state and federal courts.

Originally from Vincennes, Indiana, Audrey earned her Bachelor of Arts in political science from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, graduating with highest distinction in 2009. Audrey received her juris doctor, magna cum laude, from the Indiana University Maurer School of Law in Bloomington, Indiana in 2012. While in law school, Audrey was named to the Order of the Coif and served as the Executive Notes and Comments Editor for the Indiana Law Journal.

Audrey joined Ice Miller in 2012. Outside of Ice Miller, Audrey has actively supported Brooke’s Place for Grieving Young People, Inc., a local Indianapolis nonprofit organization, in a variety of roles. Audrey is also a member of the Indianapolis Bar Association.

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