ACT OF GOD - Black's Law Dictionary

What is ACT OF GOD? Definition of ACT OF GOD in Black's Law Dictionary

An act occasioned exclusively by violence of nature without the interference of any human agency. It means a natural necessity proceeding from physical causes alone without the intervention of man. It is an act, event, happening, or occurrence, a disaster and effect due to natural causes and inevitable accident, or disaster; a natural and inevitable necessity which implies entire exclusion of all human agency which operates without interference or aid from man and which results from natural causes and is in no sense attributable to human agency. It is an accident which could not have been occasioned by human agency but proceeded from physical causes alone. Short v. Kerr, 104 Ind.App. 118, 9 N.E.2d 114, 118.

In the civil law, vis major. Any misadventure or casualty is said to be caused by the "act of God" when it happens by the direct, immediate, and exclusive operation of the forces of nature, uncontrolled or uninfluenced by the power of man and without human intervention, and is of such a character that it could not have been prevented or escaped from by any amount of foresight or prudence, or by any reasonable degree of care or dilligence, or by the aid of any appliances which the situation of the party might reasonably require him to use. Inevitable accident, or casualty; any accident produced by any physical cause which is irresistible, such as lightning, tempests, perils of the seas, an inundation, or earthquake; and also the sudden illness or death of persons. People v. Tubbs, 37 N.Y. 586; Central of Georgia Ry. Co. v. Hall, 124 Ga. 322, 52 S.E. 679, 4 L.R.A.,N.S., 898, 110 Am.St.Rep. 170, 4 Ann.Cas. 128. Story, Bailm. §§ 25, 511; 2 Bl.Comm.

122. Inevitable accident or casualty. Noel Bros. v. Texas & P. Ry. Co., 16 La.App. 622, 133 So. 830, 832; not preventable by human care, skill, or foresight, but resulting from natural causes, The Empress of France, D.C.N.Y., 49 F.2d 291. Misfortunes and accidents arising from inevitable necessity which human prudence could not foresee or prevent. Pleasure Beach Park Co. v. Bridgeport Dredge & Dock Co., 116 Conn. 496, 165 A. 691, 692. Limited, v. Lehigh Valley R. Co., D.C.N.Y., 254 F. 351, 353, a landside in the Panama Canal, Gans S. S. Line v. Wilhelmsen, C.C. A.N.Y., 275 F. 254, 261, and changes in the styles of wearing apparel, Rosenblatt v. Winstanley, Mo.App., 186 S.W. 542, 543, are not "acts of God" ; otherwise, however, as to a strike, accompanied with violence and intimidation, see Southern Cotton Oil Co. v. Louisville & N. R. Co., 15 Ga.App. 751, 84 S.E. 198, 199.

The term is sometimes defined as equivalent to inevitable accident; Neal v. Saunderson, 2 Sm. & M. (Miss.) 572, 41 Am.Dec. 609; Central of Georgia Ry. Co. v. Council Bros., 36 Ga.App. 573, 137 S.E. 569, 570 (see, however, Cannon v. Hunt, 113 Ga. 509, 38 S.E. 983; Harmony Grove Telephone Co. v. Potts, 24 Ga.App. 178, 100 S.E. 236, but incorrectly, as there is a distinction between the two; Alaska Coast Co. v. Alaska Barge Co., 79 Wash. 216, 140 P. 334, 335. Bolton v. Burnett, 5 Blackf. (Ind.) 222.

See Inevitable Accident; Perils of the Sea.

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