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Every year in the U.S. some 65,000 people die from what is lumped together as flu and pneumonia. This is a lot of people, and there is constant fear that should another influenza pandemic strike, it could be as devastating as the 1918-1919 pandemic, in which it is now estimated that 30 to 50 million people died, including an estimated 675,000 Americans.

From the perspective of this article, we are concerned largely with the issue of how a pandemic affects force majeure. While many contracts have force majeure clauses (our Memorandum of Understanding does), there is always some potential issue as to what constitutes an Act of God. Does pandemic fall into this category? We would certainly think so!

That said, we would hope your legal department either has considered or is considering this issue. And, even more, we hope that the current H1N1 variant does not become any more serious than it now is.

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