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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) 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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