By Dow Jones Business News, October 01, 2013, 09:45:00 AM EDT
Government Denied a Delay in US Air-AMR Case
WASHINGTON--A federal judge on Tuesday ordered the trial over the merger of US Airways Group Inc. ( LCC ) and American
Airlines parent AMR Corp. to go ahead despite the Justice Department's request for a postponement because of the federal
U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly said, "It is essential that the Department of Justice attorneys continue to
litigate this case." She cited time sensitivities and the high financial stakes as reasons to continue moving promptly
on the case.
A trial is scheduled to begin Nov. 25 in the Justice Department's antitrust suit challenging the merger.
The Justice Department had asked the judge earlier Tuesday to postpone all proceedings in the case until Congress
reached a deal to keep the government funded.
The government closed at the end of the day Monday because Congress failed to approve spending legislation to fund
The Justice Department said that under the shutdown, its employees were generally prohibited from working, even on a
voluntary basis, except in limited circumstances such as "emergencies involving the safety of human life or the
protection of property."
Department lawyers had said that if the judge denied the postponement request, they would continue to work on the case
because her action would "constitute express legal authorization" for them to stay on the job.
The Justice Department sued to block the airline merger in August. It argues the deal would harm industry competition
and result in higher airfares, higher fees and fewer choices for consumers. The airlines say their merger will allow
them to offer more flights to more destinations, reduce costs and offer lower prices and better service.
Justice Department lawyers made a similar postponement request Tuesday in a San Francisco federal court that is
holding trial proceedings in the government's challenge to a merger of two Internet technology companies. The judge in
that case also denied the request.
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