American, US Air Won’t Appeal Court’s Ruling on Access to DOJ Information

By Paul Riegler on 15 October 2013
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American Ailines check-in at JFK

American Ailines check-in at JFK

American Airlines and US Airways said on Monday that they will not appeal a special master’s ruling that turned down their request for documents and information from the Department of Justice.

The two airlines, which announced plans to merge in February, are defending a suit filed by the Department of Justice in August challenging their planned merger.  A number of state attorneys general are part of the suit as well.  The DOJ alleges that the combination of the two airlines would reduce competition, harm consumers, and violate federal antitrust laws.

“After carefully reviewing our options, we have determined not to appeal the Special Master’s decision,” the airlines said in a statement. “We are confident in our legal position and our ability to win this case.  We look forward to becoming the new American so that we can compete together and deliver the significant benefits of this merger to consumers and all of our stakeholders as soon as possible.”

Last week, a special master tasked with overseeing some pretrial portions of the suit rejected the airlines’ motion for access to DOJ materials about the department’s review of recent airline mergers that received antitrust approval, having concluded that the information was protected by legal privilege.

The special master, Richard Levie, a retired judge, also turned down the airlines’ request to require the department to turn over the names of third parties it had interviewed in the course of deciding whether to challenge the AA-US Airways merger, as well as documents produced from these interviews.

The case is set to go to trial on November 25, and U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, the trial judge, has said she intends to issue a ruling by January 10.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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