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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

DEA found liable for failing to protect its informant

In an unusual case, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims has held the DEA liable for over $1 million in damages for failing to protect its informant, the "Princess."  The Court held that the DEA "breached an implied-in-fact contract and its duty of good faith and fair dealing" when it compromised the informant's identity which led to her kidnapping and the worsening of a severe medical condition.   Opinion here.

Professor Stephen Carter wrote about the case in this article:  How the DEA Ditched an Informant, and he writes: "It was the DEA's repeated bungling that essentially blew her cover. Then, after her release, she developed a chronic medical condition that would require increasingly expensive care. The DEA refused to help out. She therefore brought an action claiming breach of contract. In particular, she argued that the DEA, in hiring her as an informant, had agreed to protect her.  It broke that promise."

It's an important decision because courts often find that the government does not have a duty to protect its informants.  See this post.