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General Dynamics Corp. v. United States

Docket No.: 09-1298
Certiorari Granted: 09/28/10
Argued: January 19, 2011
Decided: 03/01/11
Consolidated with: 09-130209-1298109-130229/28/2010:1hetherthegovernmentcanmaintainitsclaimagainstapartywhenitinvokesthestate-secretsprivilegetocompletelydenythatpartyadefensetotheclaim2hether,contrarytonearlyacenturyofgovernmentcontractslaw,acourtcanupholdadefaultterminationonfactualgroundsneverreliedonbythecontractingofficer,andcandispensewiththerequirementthatthecontractingofficerexercisediscretionwhenterminatingfordefault3hetheronepanelofacourtofappealscanusethelaw-of-the-casedoctrinetooverruleanotherpanel'spriordecisioninthesamecaseasclearlyerroneousormanifestlyunjustandtherebycircumventthelaw-of-the-circuitdoctrine,whichpermitsonlytheenbanccourttooverru

Topics:

contract, superior knowledge, Article I, Due Process, sovereign immunity, superior knowledge

PartyNames: General Dynamics Corporation v. United States
Petitioner: General Dynamics Corporation
Respondent: United States

Court Below: United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
Citation: 567 F.3d 1340
Supreme Court Docket

General Dynamics Corporation
v.
United States
Consideration Limited:

LIMITED TO QUESTION 1 09-1302 LIMITED TO QUESTION 2

Question Presented:

1. Whether the government can maintain its claim against a party when it invokes the state-secrets privilege to completely deny that party a defense to the claim. 2. Whether, contrary to nearly a century of government contracts law, a court can uphold a default termination on factual grounds never relied on by the contracting officer, and can dispense with the requirement that the contracting officer exercise discretion when terminating for default. 3. Whether one panel of a court of appeals can use the law-of-the-case doctrine to overrule another panel's prior decision in the same case as clearly erroneous or manifestly unjust and thereby circumvent the law-of-the-circuit doctrine, which permits only the en banc court to overrule a precedential panel decision.

Question:

The "state secrets" doctrine prevents disclosure of important state secrets in litigation. Can the government sue a federal contractor for breach of contract then use the state secrets doctrine to prevent the contractor from raising a defense that would require the contractor to disclose secret information?

Note:

09-1302

General Dynamics Corp. v. United States
ORAL ARGUMENT

01/19/11

Listen to Oral Argument in General Dynamics Corp. v. United States
Holding: vacated and remanded
Vote: 9-0
Opinion By: Justice Antonin Scalia

General Dynamics Corp. v. United States
Case Documents

1General Dynamics Corp. v. United States Oral Argument Audio
2General Dynamics Corp. v. United States Oral Argument Audio
3Opinion in General Dynamics Corp. v. United States
4General Dynamics Corp. v. United States Oral Argument Transcript (HTML)
5Opinion in General Dynamics Corp. v. United States
6General Dynamics Corp. v. United States Oral Argument Transcript (HTML)
Additional documents for this case are pending review.