APFA Hotline Update – More Motions Filed in Antitrust Case
On last Friday’s Hotline, we reported the filing of AA and US Airways’ motion to compel the DOJ to comply with requests for discovery. In a civil case such as this antitrust litigation, the parties have the right to ask the opposing side for information regarding the claims and defenses that have been asserted in the lawsuit. This process is referred to as discovery and most typically takes the form of requests for information and documents.
Today, the airlines filed a second motion to compel; this time asking the court to require the DOJ to identify the third parties it interviewed prior to filing its lawsuit and to describe the content of those interviews. AA and US Airways argue the following:
“In preparing their case, Plaintiffs had the advantage of months of pre-filing investigation, including conducting numerous third-party interviews. Having chosen to file suit, Plaintiffs cannot now withhold the revenant facts they learned from those third-parties. Absent an order directing Plaintiffs to answer [this Interrogatory] in full, those facts – some of which may undercut the Plaintiff’s claims and support the merger – will remain locked away in the Plaintiffs’ files, a result directly at odds with the fundamental purpose of civil discovery.”
Earlier this month the court appointed magistrate Richard A. Levie as Special Master to resolve discovery disputes such as these. It is expected that he will rule on the motions very shortly.
Finally, yesterday, AMR and US Airways agreed to extend the date on which either AMR or US Airways may terminate their Merger Agreement. The original date was December 17, 2013.
It will now be either January 18, 2014, or (if the Court enters an order on or before January 17, 2014 in favor of American and US Airways) on the 15th day following the entry of such order. For example, if a favorable ruling is issued on January 10, the deadline would be January 25.
In the event of an unfavorable ruling by the Court, AMR or US Airways may terminate the merger agreement five days after the Court enters a final, but appealable, order permanently enjoining the merger.
AmericanAirlines + US Airways
APFA National Communications Coordinator