Glendale Federal Bank has filed a brief at the Supreme Court rebutting the government's case in its long-simmering goodwill case.

Uncle Sam should pay, the Glendale, Calif.-based thrift told the justices in a March 29 brief, because Congress reversed federal regulators and required the thrift to write off regulatory goodwill in five years.

After Glenfed acquired First Federal Savings and Loan Association of Broward County, an ailing Florida institution, regulators agreed to let the California thrift carry $734 million as regulatory goodwill on its books for 40 years.

Glenfed disputed claims by the Office of the Solicitor General that the thrift knew Congress could require it to drop goodwill from its books. "The argument is wrong both legally and factually," the thrift said.

Glenfed also disputed the government's claims that the regulator - the now-defunct Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corp. - lacked the authority to enter binding contracts. It said lawmakers gave FSLIC the right to sign contracts in 1976.

Finally, Glenfed said courts have long held that the government has no right to void a contract and not pay damages.

Glenfed is one of about 100 thrifts or former thrifts who have sued the government over supervisory goodwill. Banking lawyers have said that the government could be on the hook for up to $15 billion in damages.

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