Friday, August 31, 2012
The U.S. government reportedly is considering filing a breach of contract suit against the Navy Seal (pseudonym "Mark Owen") who wrote a book about the raid and killing of Osama bin Laden. According to a letter obtained by Reuters, the Pentagon has told Owen that his publication of the book would further violate certain confidentiality provisions in agreements between him and the U.S. government. The Huffington Post reports the contents of the letter as follows:
"In the judgment of the Department of Defense, you are in material breach and violation of the non-disclosure agreements you signed....Further public dissemination of your book will aggravate your breach and violation of your agreements."
I recently thought about how I could use this case in class without crossing any lines of impropriety (read: without crossing over into an uncomfortably political discussion). One angle I envisioned was using it when we get to specific performance. A topic closer to the (mythical?) impropriety line would be whether Owen would have any arguments regarding why the agreements should not be enforced, perhaps including public policy or duress. Both are a stretch without more facts. Regardless of specifics, I think it could be a great case to use when discussing the general topics of the limits of contract law and the limits of contract law remedies.
[Heidi R. Anderson]