Since March 12th, barely has a week gone by that I have not participated in some sort of online education relevant to our industry. The generosity of expertise shared by subject matter experts and legal counsels has been amazing!
When it comes to education sessions about negotiating event contracts - I am always looking for that one piece of information that I've never heard before.
And when it happens, I get giddy....I honestly feel like I've struck gold!
So - here's a "gold nugget" I learned recently - during a webinar presented by Russell Riddle J.D. (Anomaly at Law):
In common law there is a concept called "Ejusdem Generis" - which is a latin term that means:
"where a class of things is modified by general wording that expands the class, the general wording is usually restricted to things of the same type as the listed items"
So how does this apply to event contracts?
In a Termination clause, we often see a laundry list of possible occurrences that could be the reason for invoking Force Majeure. The list is often followed with some additional language that says "or any other cause" - which is intended to be a "catch all" to cover unlisted occurrences.
However, if one applies the concept of "Ejusdem Generis" - the "or any other cause" could potentially be interpreted to include only occurrences that are similar to those specifically identified.
Wow - who knew!!!
Therefore - in the spirit of removing all ambiguity, it was suggested that the "catch-all words" have even more words added, to clarify them!
Quoting Russell Riddle's presentation - he suggested that we consider:
"...or any other cause, whether similar in kind to the foregoing or otherwise".
Can you see how this removes the opportunity to exercise the concept "Ejusdem Generis"?