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Force Majeure and Commercial Impracticability in Purchasing and Sales Contracts


Gain an understanding of what's covered by your force majeure clause.

Your supplier's plant was severely damaged by an earthquake and is claiming it is excused from filling your orders. A strike has stranded a shipment, and your supplier claims it is not responsible for any delay. Or your supplier is claiming that a shortage of raw material and spike in prices has made it impossible for it to perform. What are your rights? Is your supplier really excused from fulfilling the contract? If so, what must they do to minimize harm to you, and what actions can you take to protect yourself? This topic will provide you a basic understanding of your rights in these circumstances. You will receive a primer on the types of events that often do, and do not, excuse performance under a force majeure clause or the doctrine of commercial impracticability, the duty for available supply to be allocated among customers, and notifications to which you are entitled. Focused on practical steps, and not just theory, you will be interested in this timely discussion of what to do when disaster strikes.



Christopher Tompkins

Christopher Tompkins

Jenner & Block LLP

  • Partner in Jenner & Block LLP’s Chicago office where he practices commercial litigation
  • Extensive experience assisting clients resolve disputes involving a variety of subject matters and venues, including the sale of goods under the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC)
  • Has assisted clients with an array of matters including the failure to supply, early termination, pricing, product quality and breach of warranty, and supplier bankruptcies
  • Counseled corporate clients regarding best contracting practices under the UCC, including review and revision of contracting procedures, and standard contract forms
  • His clients span an array of industries including steel and mining, food and beverage, consumer packaged goods, automotive and heavy manufacturing, electric utilities, chemical companies, and equipment lessors
  • Has written and spoken extensively about these areas, including articles on breach of warranty and electronic contracting
  • Member of the Chicago and American Bar Associations and the international Bar Association
  • J.D. degree, magna cum laude, Loyola University Chicago School of Law; B.A. degree in economics and politics, cum laude, Catholic University of America
  • Can be contacted at 312-840-8686, [email protected] or

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