The Maine Supreme Judicial Court on Tuesday became the first state high court to consider a force majeure clause in COVID-19 litigation, finding it did not preclude a restaurant from paying rent once shutdown orders were amended to limit the number of indoor dining guests allowed in the establishment.

More importantly for Maine, the opinion in 55 Oak Street v. RDR Enterprises also marked the first time the high court interpreted a force majeure clause in a contractual sense, said James Monteleone of Bernstein Shur Law, who represented the plaintiff landlord.