First, we will be publishing two updates a week between now and the first day of trial. Once trial starts, we will update nightly. And after trial . . . well, we'll see.
What we know for sure is that the events are sizing up for the West pilots to get a completely fair opportunity to litigate before a neutral party. Since the time we filed our complaints in federal court, USAPA has insisted that our case was not properly before the District Court;
twice already they have argued that we were both premature in our filing and tardy at the same time! Go figure that one out. The point is that in two weeks and five days, the only issue which will matter will be USAPA's actions as they relate to their duty to fairly represent all pilots. For anyone who has ever sat through a trial of any kind, then they will know first hand how little time six days of litigation really is. We say six days of trial knowing that although eight days are scheduled, typically it takes the first day to handle preliminary matters, select the jury, and then get through opening arguments. It is also likely that the last day will be completely taken by closing arguments, charging the jury (instructing them), and then sending them off to deliberate. So, 8-2=6 and that is not a lot of time to litigate much more than what we said above. To quote from the Scheduling Order (Document 252) "
"The trial beginning April 28, 2009, will encompass all other facts which might support liability, including, if relevant and without limitation, the history of the event, the campaign to oust ALPA, the formation and conduct of USAPA, the obligation to pay union dues and fees, and the nature of the injury to Plaintiffs, as well as evidence concerning USAPA’s pending seniority proposal and any other facts relevant to the discharge of its duty."
One note: the union dues issue has been removed from consideration, but that is not surprising as Judge Wake has been paring the issues before the Court since our first hearing on October 29th. What we have now is a very focused question to be answered by the jury. That question relates to a union's actions which clearly conflict with its duty to fairly represent all pilots. That's it. We will know a duty to fairly represent all pilots. That's it. We will know a lot more once the final Pre-Trial Conference takes place. This conference will be the final event in a long line of pre- trial procedurs mandated by the Rules of Civil Procedure. What it means for both sides is that the issue to be tried at trial will be clearly defined after this conference. What it means for the oppsing lawyer alone is that the next time he enters Court Room 504 at Federal Courthouse in Phoenix after this final Pre-Trial Conference, it will mark an event which he smugly promised at several videotaped USAPA events would never happen; he will have to defend the union's long trail of actions which more than likely lead to one conclusion.
On Tuesday, both sides were required to submit motions called "Motions in Limine." In layman's terms, these motions ask the court to include or exclude evidence at trial. There are a number of common justifications why a party might ask to keep evidence out at trial, and in this case the major justification is time. The West attorneys filed nine Motions in Limine. We will post these motions in due time, but for now they are available on PACER. If you check PACER, then you will not be able to miss the 33 Motions in Limine filed by USAPA's counsel. All that needs to be said is that the opposing side is clearly going to try to throw in the kitchen sink to defend against an issue which is really straight forward. Hence, the nine Motions in Limine. Responses to these motions will be due April 14th. After that will be the final Pre-Trial Conference. And after that, we go to trial. Nothing is going to stop us from getting our day in court.
Our normal Sunday update will be delayed one day in observance of Easter. We would also like to emphasize that it is Leonidas, LLC which alone is funding this legal campaign. We see and hear many comments about this litigation by people who have no affiliation with Leonidas, and we want to caution our readers that these other sources are not connected in any way to this litigation other than being class members. The only official source of information is Leonidas LLC through its website www.cactuspilot.com.
Have a great weekend and we will talk to you Monday.