AMR-US Airways Trial to Proceed After U.S. Seeks Halt

The U.S. lawsuit seeking to block the proposed merger of AMR Corp. (AAMRQ) and US Airways Group Inc. (LCC) will proceed as scheduled, an airline lawyer said, even after the Justice Department sought to suspend the case because of the government shutdown.

The trial is still set to begin on Nov. 25, Rich Parker, an attorney for US Airways, said after a hearing today in federal court in Washington. U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, who is overseeing the case, will issue an order on the government’s request, he said.

“We’re going to trial on Nov. 25,” Parker said.

The Justice Department asked the judge in a filing today to stay the case until Congress restores funding, saying its attorneys are “generally prohibited” from working except in “very limited circumstances.” Kollar-Kotelly didn’t rule on the motion or comment on it at the hearing.

“If the court denies the request, the government will comply with the court’s order, which would constitute express legal authorization for the activity to continue,” the Justice Department said in its filing.

Gina Talamona, a spokeswoman for the department, declined to comment on the request for delay.

Competition, Consumers

The U.S. sued the airlines in August, claiming the merger would reduce competition and hurt consumers. Seven states and the District of Columbia have joined the case.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, one of the attorneys general who have sued, and the two airlines were scheduled to announce today an “important development related to the merger” of the carriers. Abbott’s office declined to comment about the announcement.

AMR is based in Fort Worth, Texas. US Airways is based in Tempe, Arizona. Arizona is also a plaintiff in the suit.

The case is U.S. v. US Airways Group Inc., 13-cv-01236, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).

To contact the reporters on this story: David McLaughlin in federal court in Washington at 7354 or dmclaughlin9@bloomberg.net; Sara Forden in federal court in Washington at sforden@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net

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