This article appeared in The Bankruptcy Strategist, featuring the strategies and techniques devised by the country’s top bankruptcy lawyers and reports on innovative procedural techniques, legislative developments and recent judicial rulings — plus what they mean for you and your clients.

As we all expected, cases are being brought and decided on the issue of whether the COVID-19 pandemic and related governmental shut down orders trigger force majeure clauses in commercial leases and operate to excuse the performance of commercial tenants. While commercial leases and the force majeure clauses contained in such leases vary widely, the recent decision from the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois in In re Hitz Restaurant Group, 616 B.R. 374, 2020 WL 2924523 (Bankr. N.D. Ill. 2020) may provide guidance to parties and help them to resolve similar disputes without resorting to the courts.

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