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Old 09-26-2003, 11:27 PM
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When is it an "Act of God'?

Now that the initial clean-up following the hurricane is nearly over, I'm starting to hear about and see some situations where the definition may up for interpretation. When is the outcome a result of negligence or shoddy workmanship and when is it an Act of God? And who says so?
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Old 09-27-2003, 09:11 AM
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ACT OF GOD - A natural event, not preventable by any human agency, such as flood, storms, or lightning. Forces of nature that no one has control over, and therefore cannot be held accountable.

This phrase denotes those accidents which arise from physical causes, and which cannot be prevented.

Where the law casts a duty on a party, the performance shall be excused, if it be rendered impossible by the act of God, but where the party by his own contract engages to do an act, it is deemed to be his own fault and folly that he did not thereby provide against contingencies, and exempt himself from responsibilities in certain events and in such case, that is, in the instance of an absolute general contract the performance is not excused by an inevitable accident or other contingency, although not foreseen by, nor within the control of, the party.
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Old 09-29-2003, 05:00 AM
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What the!

Nebraska

Did you do any legal studies, or did you copy this from a book?
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Old 09-29-2003, 11:50 AM
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BJR,

I took a Psychology of Law class (10 years ago during my final semester) and there was a heated discussion on just what exactly was an Act of God. Including the discussion of whether or not an athiest is subject to an Act of God clause; even to a lesser degree an agnostic.

Act of God is a recognized legal term. My orginal post was a cut and paste from a contractual law website. Sorry that credit was not originally given.

Last edited by Nebraska; 09-29-2003 at 11:53 AM..
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Old 09-30-2003, 03:22 AM
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Just as well.

I had hoped that that wasn't the manner in which you normally talked.

I hope that your discussion concluded that the word 'GOD' actually stood for Mother Nature. Which I believe is a better way of putting it.
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Old 12-04-2003, 09:48 AM
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I think as well you can add to your contracts stating that certain conditions are considered Acts of God. For instance in our snow contract we state that even after plowing and salting, slippery conditions may exist and that these conditions are considered Acts of God and we are not liable for the slippery conditions. Whether or not a property manager calls us on it is a different issue. Unless we have to maintain a lot 24/7 free of snow/ice with zero tolerance for accumulation, I can't see removing that phrase. And for the amount of money that someone would be paying to maintain their property to that level, I'll remove the Act of God phrase. Simply put, I think if you want to add something above and beyond the legal definition I believe you can.
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Old 12-04-2003, 12:17 PM
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I concur! Tim
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Old 12-04-2003, 10:26 PM
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You can add all you want, and cover your rear in paper as best you can, but when it comes down to holding to a contract, A, you must first have one that is enforcable, and B, have more money than the opposing side if you want to win. That is what it comes down to, anyone who wants to void a contract can do so, and sure, you can fight it...99% of the time, you will eat your own legal bills no matter what your contract says, so you just spent 10 grand in lawyer fess to recover 7 grand of a contract....

Our judicial system sucks, at best....
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Old 01-15-2004, 02:36 PM
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Act of God looses face when you make an attempt to change what the act of god is doing............

I add to Nebraska and Lawn Lads posts.
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Old 01-15-2004, 03:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Lawngodfather
Act of God looses face when you make an attempt to change what the act of god is doing............
What do you mean?
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Old 01-15-2004, 07:18 PM
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Nebraska:

Since the US laws were based from British common law, much of this nonsense comes from abroad.

Example as written here...

It snows, and, last I checked, that is a definite act of God. Your client wants you to shovel and salt walks as written in your plow contract.

You do so, as you promised. At this point, you changed the act of God so if a person slips, you are liable. Had they slipped on snow that was unmolested, the act of God was as he left it, therefore, no one is liable, unless of course some liberal genious from the ACLU decides to try suing God, which,. would not surprise me a bit.

Another example. Someones grade is just as natural as the earth he bought. Excavation contractor comes, installs a swale catch basin and drain pipe to relieve water during a storm.

It rains 18" in 3 hours, as it did in Illinois in 1996. Half of the block is under water.... The excavator, designer/engineer/architect gets sued because they changed the condition of the earth therefore causing the flooding....


I could namer a dozen more like that, but basically, that is how it works.
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In the year 1491, if the Naturescape Landscape Company did the site work in Pisa, Italy, they would not be calling it the "leaning" tower.

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Old 01-15-2004, 08:50 PM
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BIll's right on with that.

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Old 01-15-2004, 09:30 PM
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Quote:
You do so, as you promised. At this point, you changed the act of God so if a person slips, you are liable. Had they slipped on snow that was unmolested, the act of God was as he left it, therefore, no one is liable, unless of course some liberal genious from the ACLU decides to try suing God, which,. would not surprise me a bit.
There are a number of incongruities in that one.....likely because of the nature of the snow example.
1. If you fail to show because of the 'act of God', snow, in this scenario I definitely can see some liability being had on the part of the contractor....of course depending upon the wording and specifics of the contract.
2. As the contractor...you show and make every reasonable effort to maintain the lot free of snow in a reasonable manner in accordance to the wording of your contract, the contractor is not negligence in any respect to the duties spelled out in the contract, it's going to be hard to find a court to hold that contractor liable. There still exists a common sense factor that says basically: It's winter, it's below freezing, there is precipitation of the frozen variety...a reasonable person can assume the ground may be slippery.

A large portion of the liability issues associated with snow and ice services can be addressed in a well worded agreement....

In your drain example.....at what point does a contractor assume the liability for an event that seems fairly close if not greater than a 100 year storm..?? When dealing with drainage issues you would think that someone somewhere along the line engineered that catch basin and drain pipe to handle a certain amount of water equal to a 25-50-75 or 100 year storm...at the point (capacity) where it was engineered too, there has to be something to deny all liability above and beyond the maximum engineered capacity.
??

Last edited by Nebraska; 01-15-2004 at 09:35 PM..
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Old 01-15-2004, 09:50 PM
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Oh I don't disagree, we are just trying to keep it basic, once passing basic terms, then it all becomes legalities of the states, judge having a bad day and such. This is where it become diffacult on the internet, and lawyers not righting it.

Of course we all know how they can make one read so perfect, and here comes another one that will tear it apart.
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Old 01-15-2004, 11:53 PM
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Fuirst we all need to recognise that courts and juries state to stae vary, and since we live in the one that gave the world the OJ Simpson trial, NOTHING surprises me...That said, we are all the big bad contractors who screw and cheat folks daily. We never show up for appointments, and we live out of the back of a pick up truck, preying on old ladies and unsuspecting citizens wanting work done. Anything more than giving the store away is cheating someone...

That is typically how the average jury or judge looks at us as a group. When you have a trial, pray that you can get abench trial or arbitration, as with a jury, a homeonwer has a tremandous advantage over you.

Now, that in mind, no matter what you write in, the contract is only as fair as the person onm the other end of the signing. In this country, we all pay our legal fees, no matter weather or not you are right, thus, making it impairative that in the event of an issue it gets solved before court or you are screwed.
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