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Godley v. United States

United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit

September 30, 1993, Decided

93-5028

Opinion

 [*1474]  RADER, Circuit Judge.

William C. Godley sued the United States Postal Service in the United States Court of Federal Claims for breach of contract. The Court of Federal Claims granted Mr. Godley's motion for summary judgment. Godley v. United States, 26 Cl. Ct. 1075 (1992). Genuine issues of material fact require this court to vacate the summary judgment and remand for further proceedings.

Mr. Godley owned an interest in a tract of land in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. When the Postal Service advertised its need for a postal facility, Mr. Godley offered to build one on his land. Mr. Godley made [**2]  this offer to Charles D. Paramore, the Postal Service agent responsible for this project. Mr. Godley offered to build a postal facility and to provide a ten-year lease with an option to buy after the first year. The Postal Service accepted Mr. Godley's offer in February 1989.

On September 5, 1989, Mr. Paramore was indicted for conspiracy and bribery. The charges stemmed from his involvement with Postal Service projects. On November 22, 1989, Mr. Paramore pled guilty to several counts of conspiracy and bribery. United States v. Paramore, No. 91-6630, 1992 U.S. App. LEXIS 13606 (4th Cir. June 10, 1992). The bribery and conspiracy charges involved a subcontractor, not Mr. Godley. Mr. Godley allegedly lacked any knowledge of the illegal activities.

In October 1989, the facility was complete and the Postal Service took possession. Mr. Godley and the Postal Service entered a final lease agreement on December 5, 1989. On March 27, 1990, however, the Postal Service informed Mr. Godley that the contract was not valid because it was tainted by Mr. Paramore's illegal conduct. The Postal Service offered instead to renegotiate. The Postal Service stopped paying the [**3]  lease amount in the contract.

On May 17, 1990, Mr. Godley filed claims against the Postal Service under the Contract Disputes Act of 1978, 41 U.S.C. §§ 601-613 (1988). Mr. Godley claimed that the Postal Service breached the contract. As damages, Mr. Godley sought the payments required by the original lease. In addition, Mr. Godley sought compensation for changes in the contract. On June 21, 1990, the Postal Service began paying a reduced lease rate. In November 1990, the contracting officer for the Postal Service denied Mr. Godley's claims.

OPINION

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5 F.3d 1473 *; 1993 U.S. App. LEXIS 25038 **; 39 Cont. Cas. Fed. (CCH) P76,581

WILLIAM C. GODLEY and RODNEY W. GODLEY, Plaintiffs-Appellees, v. THE UNITED STATES, Defendant-Appellant.

Prior History:  [**1]  Appealed from: U.S. Court of Federal Claims. Judge Futey

Disposition: VACATE and REMAND

CORE TERMS

Postal, summary judgment, void ab initio, trial court, voidable, illegality, lease, wrongdoing, innocent

Civil Procedure, Summary Judgment, Entitlement as Matter of Law, General Overview, Judgments, Appeals, Summary Judgment Review, Standards of Review, Business & Corporate Compliance, Public Contracts Law, Voiding Contracts, Fraud & Whistleblowing, Contracts Law, Affirmative Defenses, Fraud & Misrepresentation, Public Contracts Law

Civil Procedure, Summary Judgment, Entitlement as Matter of Law, General Overview, Judgments, Appeals, Summary Judgment Review, Standards of Review, Business & Corporate Compliance, Public Contracts Law, Voiding Contracts, Fraud & Whistleblowing, Contracts Law, Affirmative Defenses, Fraud & Misrepresentation, Public Contracts Law