A federal judge’s decision ordering the U.S. government to pay a California savings association $909 million for breach of contract–the first decision in a parade of 120 related suits–may not be the death knell for the federal budget surplus that it may initially have seemed.

After all, if the verdict were an unalloyed victory for the plaintiff and similar litigants, would the price of their stock have fallen in the next day’s trading?

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