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caso fortuito



act of God


Comparative law notes

Brazilian law does not differentiate between weather conditions/natural disasters and events caused by human action. Under the Brazilian law, both "caso fortuito" and "força maior" refer to events whose effects could not be prevented or avoided (sec. 393, sole paragraph, of the Brazilian Civil Code). They encompass natural disasters (such as lightning, hurricanes and flooding) as well as human actions (such as strikes, civil unrest and war). "Act of God", in turn, refers exclusively to the forces of nature. In Brazilian contract language, the terms "caso fortuito" and "força maior" are often used together (FONSECA, LUCIANA CARVALHO: Inglês jurídico: tradução e terminologia, 2014).

Definitions of act of God

extreme weather conditions and natural disasters (eg lightning, flooding and volcanic activity etc) that interrupt the expected course of events

My house insurance policy does not cover acts of God.

The term act of God is used in contracts to describe extreme weather conditions and natural disasters. The term has sometimes been taken more literally. In the US state of Nebraska, Senator Ernie Chambers filed a suit in 2008 against God seeking a permanent injunction against God's harmful activities. The suit was thrown out of court because God didn't have a fixed address, and so could not properly be notified. In 2005, a person filed a lawsuit against the Romanian Orthodox Church as God's representative on earth. He was serving a twenty-year sentence after being convicted of murder. His argument was that following his baptism, God was under a binding contract to keep him from the devil. God failed to do that, which was why the man was now serving time. The suit was dismissed because the defendant, God, mas neither an individual nor a company. So the civil court had no jurisdiction to hear the case.