Act Of God, unforeseeable, unpredictable, unpreventable, completely uncontrollable, and often catastrophic natural events that prevent one party fulfilling its contractual obligation to another.

For example, one business contracts another for interstate shipping, but a flood or earthquake destroys the shipping company's fleet that is necessary for the fulfillment of the shipping company's contractual obligation to provide the interstate shipping service. Here, the earthquake or the flood would be an "act of god." Many contracts have an "acts of god" to plan for the unplanable.

Act Of God,* In contracts This phrase denotes those accidents which arise from physical causes, and which cannot be prevented.

2. 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, byhis 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. Chitty on Contr. 272, 8; Aleyn, 27, cited by Lawrence; J. in 8 T. R. 267; Com. Dig. Action upon the Case upon Assumpsit, G; 6 T. R. 650 ; 8 T. R. 259; 3 M. & S. 267 ; 7 Mass. 325; 13 Mass. 94; Co. Litt. 206; Com. Dig. Condition, D 1, L 13; 2 Bl. Com. 340; 1 T. R. 33; Jones on Bailm 104, 5 ; 1 Bouv. Inst. n. 1024.

3. Special bail are discharged when the defendant dies, Tidd, 243 ; actus Dei nemini facit injuriam being a maxim of law, applicable in such case; but if the defendant die after the return of the case and before it is filed, the bail are fixed. 6 T. R. 284; 6 Binn. 332, 338. It is, however, no ground for an exoneratur, that the defendant has become deranged since the suit was brought, and is confined in a hospital. 2 Wash. C. C. R. 464, 6 T. It. 133 Bos. & Pull. 362 Tidd, 184. Vide 8 Mass. Rep. 264; 3 Yeates, 37; 2 Dall. 317; 16 Mass. Rep. 218; Stra. 128; 1 Leigh's N, P. 508; 11 Pick. R. 41; 2 Verm. R. 92; 2 Watt's Rep. 443. See generally, Fortuitous Event; Perils of the Sea.

* From Bouvier's Law Dictionary, 1856 Edition. Please see Bouvier's Legal Abbreviations & Abbreviated References for help with obscure nomenclature & references.

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