Does being relocated pursuant to military orders constitute a “force majeure” regarding the cancellation of a contract?

My husband and I were going to renew our vows in NM so we set a date and paid for a venue.He is active duty military so we got unexpected orders to relocate to another state, 12 hours away. We cancelled and the venue only wants to give us back 25 percent of what we paid. There is a force majeure clause in their agreement. Are we entitled to get all of our money back?

Asked on August 17, 2015 under Business Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

No, "force majeure" refers to criminal or military action e.g. a riot an insurgency, or some other act by a superior third party force unrelated to the parties to the contract and which act is reasonably unforeseeable by them, which interferes with performance of the contract. It would not refer to a relocation order by your husband's employer, the military, since that is a foreseeble and known risk of his job/career, and so does not meet the unpredictibilty or unforeeability requirement to be force majeure. Being active duty military and knowing this could happen, your husband would have been expected to have bargained for some protection upfront--e.g. to have negotiated a clause in the contract requiring him to be refunded perhaps less some penalty or administrative fee if he were redeployed.


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