Volcano Fallout

Date: April 22, 2010
Posted In: DLP Law

Paul and Amy had planned their wedding for a long time and were looking forward to having an extravagant ceremony and reception. Amy was English and most of her family, which was very large, was coming over for the wedding. The couple had ordered a large amount of exotic flowers that were to be delivered by way of Holland. The couple also paid a prepaid amount to the caterer based upon the amount of guests.

As fortune or misfortune would have it, because of the volcanic eruption in Iceland, delivery of the special flowers which came from Holland was impossible in time for the wedding. Even worse, though, was the fact that Amy\’s entire family from England and extended family were not able to get a flight over to attend the wedding.

Amy and Paul felt that because of the volcanic eruption making it impossible for many of the guests to arrive, they should not be held responsible for the prepayment to the caterer for those guests, which numbered more than 70. Likewise, Paul and Amy felt that they should not have to pay for even the substitute flowers provided to them by the florist, let alone the value of the imported flowers that never made it from Holland.

Issue: Do Paul and Amy have any basis in their allegations?

Answer: Yes and no. As far as the caterer is concerned, Paul and Amy are out of luck. The fact that many of the guests were not able to make it was in no way the responsibility or fault of the caterer. With regards to the flowers, the most that Paul and Amy will be responsible for are the far less expensive substitute flowers that were domestically brought in at the last minute. The florist cannot charge them for flowers that were never delivered because of the volcanic eruption.

Disclaimer: The above article is for instructive purposes only and each case is fact sensitive. Consultation with an attorney should be obtained instead of reliance upon the legal issues discussed in this column.

Tom Cummings
Thomas P. Cummings has been a Partner with Dougherty Leventhal & Price, LLP since 1996 and has been with the firm since 1991. He focuses his practice on workers’ compensation, Social Security Disability and personal injury cases.