Hillesland v. Association (North Dakota)

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Hillesland v. Association (North Dakota)
Court North Dakota Supreme Court
Citation 407 N.W.2d 206
Date decided May 28, 1987


  • Federal Land Bank Association of Grand Forks = "Association" = defendant
  • Mr. Hillesland = "Hillesland" = plaintiff = he was an employee of the Association for 30 years. He was CEO for 10 years.
  • Through his position, Hillesland learned that the Westby couple, customers of the Association, wanted to sell their property to a 3rd party. In short, the son of Hillesland purchased the said property.
The directors of the Association (bank) fired Hillesland for the property transaction.

Procedural History

Hillesland sued the Association & bank for breach of contract & other claims.

Hillesland asserted that he had a contract for permanent employment to be terminated only for good cause.

Hillesland lost on summary judgment.


Is a covenant of good faith & fair dealing implied in employment contracts?


Hillesland argued that he wasn't an at-will employee.


No. There's no implied covenant of good faith & fair dealing in employment contracts.




Chief Justice Erickstad: Summary judgment is appropriate if the material facts aren't in dispute & the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.


At-will employment has been codified (as of 1987) in North Dakota. Consequently, employment that isn't for a specified time period may be terminated in North Dakota upon a simple notice.

The employment laws in the European Union are very different in favor of employees.