Brooklyn Journal of Corporate, Financial & Commercial Law


Steven H. Dovi

First Page



On January 20, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the first laboratory-confirmed case of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) on American soil.[1] On March 8, 2021—more than a year later—the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York decided Gap v. Ponte Gadea New York.[2] It ruled, inter alia, that the COVID-19 pandemic, in keeping with the relevant provision’s narrow tailoring, did not amount to a force majeure event and a defense to breach.[3] While seemingly one of the first decisions of its kind in the Southern District, this Note argues that the holding and the general principles it was based upon (i.e., that narrow contract construction invites narrow interpretation) was expected and historically quite familiar. Nevertheless, this Note advocates, in response, for a divergent, albeit unconventional, new approach to the drafting of the force majeure provision. One that not only embraces and accepts the historical shortcomings of the force majeure provision, but uses an ever-present contractual interpretation to its advantage.