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BRIEFING: Mitigating Losses: Tips for Managing Commercial Contracts and Insurance Recovery During COVID-19

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As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, colleges and universities were required to very quickly alter their day-to-day operations and, in many cases, shut down huge portions of their physical campuses in order protect the health and safety of the campus community. These drastic operational changes have significantly impacted the ability of some colleges and universities to fulfill contractual requirements with their vendors. Whether it be a cancelled sporting event or plans to upgrade a campus building, institutions must determine how they can best resolve their inability to move forward on many contracts. Additionally, as institutions experience financial losses due to the pandemic, they will look to their insurance policies as a way to possibly mitigate losses.

Please join us for a NACUA Briefing with Patricia Jendraszek, Assistant General Counsel, Teachers College, Columbia University; Art Lee, Deputy General Counsel, University of Arizona; and
Rachel Pluviose, Director, Risk Management & Insurance, Johns Hopkins University, who will share their expertise regarding how to navigate commercial contracts and insurance claims during this challenging time. They will address key legal and practical considerations in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, such as: steps to take when unable to fulfill contract terms; how to respond when a vendor fails to perform as promised; invoking possible defenses to nonperformance (including a discussion of force majeure provisions); identifying possible sources of insurance recovery; and what elements an institution will likely have to satisfy in order to receive coverage.

This 30-minute briefing will be audio-only and will be complimentary to NACUA members.


  • Patricia Jendraszek

    Patricia Jendraszek has been Assistant General Counsel with Teachers College since June 2017, after having worked as a consulting attorney since November 2014. Just before joining the College, she taught mathematics at Mercy College. Patricia had previously worked as an attorney with law firms in Honolulu and New York, where she primarily worked in tax and employee benefits law. Patricia is a member of the Bar of the State of New York, the State of Hawaii and the District of Columbia. Patricia earned her undergraduate degree and a masters in accounting at Rice University and her law degree at University of Houston, where she was Chief Articles Editor for the Houston Law Review. Patricia is a graduate of Teachers College, having earned a Ph.D. in Mathematics Education.

  • Art Lee

    Art Lee has had the privilege of working with the University of Arizona Office of the General Counsel since 2013 after working for over nine years with Arizona State University's Office of General Counsel and five years with the University of Colorado's Office of University Counsel. He has always had a diverse practice, working on everything from employment and student related matters to contracts and commercial transactions to healthcare to information security to real estate to First Amendment matters among others. He received his BA from the University of Chicago and his JD from the University of Colorado. He is also a sci-fi, fantasy, gaming, history, politics, movies nerd/geek and also loves food, drink, art, fashion and animals, among many things.

  • Rachel Pluviose

    Rachel Pluviose joined Johns Hopkins University as the Director of Risk Management and Insurance in November 2016. Her responsibilities include purchasing and maintaining all property, casualty and management liability insurance coverage/policies. She also provides broader risk management advice in support of the University's objectives while interfacing with the entire University community on all insurance matters, including handling of claims and contract reviews. Prior to joining Johns Hopkins, Rachel was employed as an Assistant Vice President with the Corporate Insurance Department of Legg Mason. Her responsibilities included coordinating Property and Casualty, Employment Practices Liability, Directors and Officers and Errors and Omissions insurance for the Corporation as well as for the 40 Act Funds. She also oversaw placement of the ERISA and surety bond renewals and managed contract reviews for the department. Rachel earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in International Business with a concentration in Finance degree from Howard University in Washington, D.C., graduating magna cum laude. She holds an insurance producer license for the State of Maryland and is a member of the Chesapeake Chapter of RIMS.