A federal judge in Washington, D.C. ruled Tuesday that the antitrust trial of American Airlines and US Airways will go on as planned November 25.
The Justice Department had asked for a delay in the trial over the merger of American Airlines and US Airways because of the shutdown of the federal government.
The merger was weeks away from closing when the government sued in August to block it on antitrust grounds.
Tuesday, US District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly ruled:
The Court concludes that a stay would be inappropriate here for a number of reasons. This case involves a pending merger agreement between two major airlines, with a deadline for completion of January 18, 2014. The closing of this merger has been delayed by the affirmative actions of Plaintiffs in filing this case and seeking injunctive relief to block the merger. In light of these considerations, and the amount of money at stake in this merger, this case is clearly significant for both sides. Furthermore, the resolution of Defendant American Airline's pending bankruptcy proceedings hinges on the proceedings in this case. In addition, various amici – particularly employees of the Defendants – have a vested interest in the adjudication of this case without delay. Indeed, because of the need for the prompt resolution of this matter, the Court has set an expedited discovery and trial schedule. A stay at this point would undermine this schedule and delay the necessary speedy disposition of this matter. It is essential that the Department of Justice attorneys continue to litigate this case.
In a related matter, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott announced Tuesday he has reached an agreement in which he support the proposed merger of American and US Airways.
At a news conference in Dallas, Abbott says he has agreed to withdraw his participation in the DOJ's lawsuit.