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Case Summary Citation

692 F.3d 1365 (Fed. Cir. 2012)

Abstract

The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit interpreted contractual language in favor of the United States Forest Service (“USFS”) in this case concerning Pacific Northwest timber harvest contracts. The contracts at issue contained provisions authorizing USFS to suspend harvest if ordered to do so by a court; when USFS exercised the provision, Scott Timber sued for breach. On appeal of the Court of Federal Claims ruling in Scott’s favor, the court held: USFS did not breach the implied duty of good faith and fair dealing; a settlement agreement from a separate but related lawsuit served to bind USFS similarly to a court order; the USFS did not unreasonably delay its response to that settlement agreement; and, that Scott was not damaged by the suspensions at issue. The Federal Circuit Court thus reversed the lower court and found in favor of USFS.

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