There has been a flurry of filings since trial closed in several actions affecting the West Pilots, particularly in light of the settlement between US Airways, American and the Department of Justice. The West Pilots (and Leonidas) have consistently supported the merger and are excited to be a part of the “New American.” After the settlement was announced, there were a number of filings in the lawsuit filed by the Department of Justice, including stipulated orders to dismiss the case, which were entered by Judge Kottar-Kotelly on November 12, 2013. The Company has indicated that the merger will close in mid-December.
Per the Court’s order, Plaintiffs and USAPA filed briefs summarizing the evidence on October 31, 2013, Doc 259 and 260 respectively. On November 6, 2013, the West Class attorneys and USAPA filed their responsive briefs in Addington II trial, Doc 263 and 264 respectively. US Airways did not file any substantive documents relating to the evidence presented at trial.
As many of you know, USAPA and US Airways filed motions for summary judgment prior to trial, Doc 211, 212, 213, 214, 215. After the close of trial, the Court ordered responses to US Airways Motion and USAPA’s Motion (only as it related to the duty of fair representation claim, Doc 250.
US Airways motion asked the Court to enter a declaratory judgment that the “West Pilots have the right under Federal McCaskill-Bond statute to full and separate representation in the upcoming seniority-integration proceedings between the pilots employed by US Airways and American Airlines, Inc.”, Doc 212. Plaintiffs’ filed a Response and Separate Statement of Facts in support of this Motion on November 14, 2013, Doc 266 and 268. Not surprisingly, USAPA opposed the motion, Doc. Doc 270. US Airways will file a reply on Monday, November 18, 2013.
Also on November 14, 2013, the West Pilots filed a response to USAPA’s claim that it is entitled to summary judgment in its favor that it has not breached its duty of fair representation to the West Pilots, Doc 267. Plaintiffs also filed a separate statement of facts in support of this motion, Doc 268. USAPA is entitled to file a reply on Monday, November 18, 2013, although it has moved the Court for an extension that the Court granted (one extra day) to now be due on November 19, 2013.
As many of you may recall prior to the trial, Judge Silver held a status conference with President Gary Hummel’s heart surgeon on October 17, 2013. When questioned by Judge Silver, Dr. Gleason indicated that Gary could testify via telephone. During the course of trial, USAPA counsel Pat Szymanski indicated to the Court that Captain Hummel was unavailable to testify telephonically, but failed to provide the Court an opportunity to verify why this was not possible. The Court was not inclined to delay the trial to wait for Gary’s testimony, and in the alternative, Judge Silver gave USAPA the opportunity to provide Gary’s testimony via affidavit as long as counsel for the West Pilot Class agreed with the particular questions expected.
After reviewing a 13 page “declaration” provided to our counsel by USAPA late Friday, October 25, 2013, the West Class attorneys indicated they could not consent to the inclusion of the declaration into the record and notified the Court of this position on Monday, October 28, 2013, Doc 255. Please read Doc 255 for the explanation of why we are rejecting the Hummel declaration from being entered into the record. To counter our filing, USAPA filed Doc 256 requesting Judge Silver include the declaration of Captain Hummel over the objections of the West Class. You can also read the USAPA supporting documents here, Doc 256-1, 256-2 and 256-3. Subsequently, the West Class filed a Motion to Strike USAPA's documents, Doc 257, and this is another worthy read. Although the Court has not granted USAPA leave to rely on Gary’s declaration, USAPA did so anyway in its Summary of Evidence,Doc 260, Response to Plaintiffs’ Summary of Evidence, Doc 264 and in its Response to US Airways Motion for Summary Judgment, Doc 269 and 270. If the Court grants our Motion to Strike, we will ask that the Court strike the various portions of these documents that rely on Captain Hummel’s “declaration.”
Declaratory Judgment Action
After the announcement of the settlement with the Department of Justice, the Company filed a motion to postpone the oral argument scheduled in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for December 9, 2013, indicating that it would dismiss the appeal once the merger closed. On November 14, 2013, the Ninth Circuit granted that Motion, taking the oral argument off calendar.
It has been an intensely busy time for West Class attorneys and the many people closely supporting the efforts for final resolution in this long standing dispute. Thank you for staying informed. We are acutely aware of the settlement regarding the Department of Justice lawsuit that creates an extremely short time-frame to begin the transition to merger mode. If we are successful in our claims in front of Judge Silver, we anticipate that USAPA will do everything in its power to subvert those rulings, as it has done in the past. We are prepared for those contingencies.
Thank you for your support over the years as we are in the “red zone” now and need to maintain our commitment to justice in the coming weeks and months.
Contributions to this effort are continuing to be accepted at the Push for Justice Web Site.