The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld a district court’s ruling granting a defendant auctioneer’s motion to dismiss, finding the COVID-19 pandemic created “a circumstance beyond the parties’ reasonable control” as outlined in the force majeure clause of an agreement for the sale of a painting.

The appellate panel further declined to consider plaintiff JN Contemporary Art’s claims that it was entitled to discovery regarding whether “COVID-19 escaped from one of two labs in Wuhan working on coronaviruses or whether such labs genetically engineered” the COVID-19 virus.