A federal judge on Thursday set Jan. 13 as the date of the first trial in the roughly 100 so-called goodwill cases.

Chief Judge Loren A. Smith of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims said Glendale (Calif.) Federal Bank will get first crack at proving the government should pay for breaking its promise to let the thrift count regulatory goodwill as capital for 40 years.

Judge Smith also ordered a Feb. 25 trial date in Statesman Bank's goodwill case.

The judge estimated that each trial would take approximately two weeks. He also ordered Glendale Federal to appear in Federal Claims Court on Nov. 21 to explain its theory on why the government should pay damages, which could total $10 billion.

The U.S. Supreme Court last month ruled that the government was liable for breaking its promise on goodwill to Glendale, Statesman, and Winstar Corp. But the justices told the claims court to determine how much the thrifts deserve.

The judge will hold a hearing Aug. 19 to set a trial date in Winstar's case. At a separate hearing on Tuesday, the judge appointed a lawyer to coordinate the other pending goodwill claims. The court did not act on the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.'s efforts to enter the cases.

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