March 21, 2005

Funny Legal Writing

I've written a few legal writing rants, criticizing stuffy, wordy legal writing. This past Friday, I ran across a hilarious Force Majeure clause in a contract. While it may seem like a joke, the rest of the quotation to which this term was attached was perfectly serious.

For those of you non-lawyers, force majeure is an intervening event beyond the reasonable control of either party to an agreement that prevents one or both parties from performing. The most common of these kinds of events are colloquially referred to as "acts of God." Parties usually agree to waive performance by the other party for some period of time during an event of force majeure.

The person who drafted this clause wanted to cover all the bases:

Issuance of a PO or other engagement of [Consultant] services enacts full force of this proposal and constitutes acceptance of the terms and conditions set forth above regardless of purchasing or other corporate contractual policies. In the occurrence of natural events, World War, biological or nuclear holocaust, whereby such events cause delay in travel, installation or other on-site and delivery schedules, customer/client agrees to hold [Consultant] harmless against such misfortunes and pay for reasonable and customary costs incurred by [Consultant] during travel at such instance. In the event of the End of the World, this contract becomes void in its entirety. Should either party survive the End of the World, World War, biological or nuclear holocausts, both are released from any remaining obligations.

I didn't fix any grammatical mistakes; I just deleted the names of the parties to protect the innocent.

Posted by JohnL at March 21, 2005 11:07 PM

Damn, that's pretty funny!

Posted by: Eric at March 22, 2005 12:58 AM

I'd laugh if I weren't so appalled. [Consultant] needs to get a competent [lawyer].

Posted by: Chan S. at March 23, 2005 12:47 PM

Dude. I saw one recently somewhere that referenced intergallactic warfare. Now that was creative!

Posted by: RP at March 24, 2005 04:09 PM

I'm 3/4ths tempted to stick that in a contract, simply for the entertainment value. However, I fear that other members of the local bar may not have exactly the same sense of humor that it would play to.


Posted by: Lysander at March 25, 2005 12:42 PM
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