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Breach Of Good Faith Doesn't Require Malice

Apr.03.2006

The Court of Federal Claims in the unusual factual situation of Agredano v. U.S. (Mar. 27, 2006, http://www.
uscfc.uscourts.gov/Opinions/Hewitt/06/HEWITT.Agredano.pdf
) took the opportunity to reinforce the growing body of decisional law that a party does not have to show subjective malice or intent to injure by a government employee to be able to recover for breach of good faith and fair dealing duties. In this case, Mexican nationals who bought a car seized by the Customs Service at a forfeiture sale "as is" and were then locked up for a year in Mexico when it was discovered at a traffic checkpoint that the upholstery was stuffed with marijuana stated a valid claim for breach of good faith duties to search the car and make sure it was "legal" before offering it for sale.

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Frederick (Rick) W. Claybrook Jr.
Partner – Washington, D.C.
Phone: +1 202.624.2695
Email: rclaybrook@crowell.com