James P. and Beatriz N. Duffy sought of refund of $13,049 of personal income taxes they allegedly overpaid for tax year 2007.  In their lawsuit filed in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, the Duffys contended that the proceeds of a settlement agreement James Duffy reached with United Commercial Bank should not have been taxable.

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The Federal Circuit upheld the CFC’s dismissal of a breach-of-contract claim  arising out of a confidentiality provision in an alternative dispute resolution agreement in Higbie v. United States. The underlying dispute involved a civil rights complaint Richard Higbie filed while employed as a Senior Criminal Investigator in the Dallas office of the Bureau of Diplomatic Security.

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Get Out of Jail Card (and Cash)

February 13, 2015

The United States Court of Federal Claims, in Crooker v. United States, awarded $172,465.75 to Michael Alan Crooker for an unjust conviction and imprisonment (2,273 days) for a firearms offense for which he was later found not guilty.

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Dismissal Without Honor

February 11, 2015

In 2008, the U.S. Army discharged Brody McClellan from the Army Reserve under “Other than Honorable” conditions, effective November 16, 2009. Ultimately, McClellan filed suit pro se in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims seeking back pay and benefits he claimed he was owed due to his wrongful discharge. In his complaint, McClellan alleged that the Army Board for Correction of Military Records had made numerous errors in reviewing his case including its conclusion that he had a duty to attend training sessions and denying his transfer request.

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It’s Too Late

February 10, 2015

In Ramona Two Shields v. United States, two Native Americans filed a breach of trust claim in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, alleging the United States breached its “fiduciary duty to prudently manage their mineral rights.”  The underlying dispute involves Plaintiffs’ allotments located in the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation, an area identified as a “sweet spot” for development of the valuable Bakken shale oil formation resources.  According to recent estimates, the Bakken formation has over 7 billion barrels of recoverable oil. The Bureau of Indian Affairs is responsible for the management of trust lands, including Plaintiffs’ land.  Two Shields argued that the BIA breached its fiduciary duty owed to them by rubber stamping oil and gas lease agreements that were not in the best interests of the Indian land owners.

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Class Counsel Gets a Hair Cut

February 2, 2015


Plaintiffs, a class of 22 individual landowners, Geneva Rock Products, Inc. and Fox Ridge Investments, LLC, brought a rails-to-trails takings case in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, seeking just compensation for the taking of their property. The taking arose when the Surface Transportation Board issued a Notice of Interim Trail Use, authorizing a recreational trail of plaintiffs’ property that had previously been encumbered by a railroad-purposes-only easement.

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