The Supreme Court refused Monday to consider a case sharply restricting a bank's ability to collect damages from the government.

The justices, without comment, let stand a decision in Wells Fargo Bank v. U.S., which said the California bank is not entitled to recover profits it could have made had the government not reneged on a loan guarantee.

Justice Department lawyers often cite the Wells Fargo case in the goodwill cases, arguing that institutions may not sue for profits lost after the government cancels a contract.

But a lawyer for one of the thrifts said the Wells Fargo case is factually different from the goodwill suits, so the precedent is irrelevant. Glendale Federal Bank is leading the challenge to the government's 1989 decision eliminating a favorable accounting treatment.

Separately, the Supreme Court ordered the federal appeals court in Atlanta to reconsider a decision in Brandt v. Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. The lower court said the FDIC may void oral contracts made by banks that subsequently failed.

The court also refused to hear Baheth v. Guaranty Bank and Trust Co., which allowed banks to require small-business lenders to personally guarantee loans.

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