Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Official citation and/or docket number and footnotes (if any) for this case available with purchase.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

LAKER AIRWAYS LTD. v. PAN AM

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA


March 9, 1983

LAKER AIRWAYS LIMITED, Plaintiff,
v.
PAN AMERICAN WORLD AIRWAYS, et al., Defendants; LAKER AIRWAYS LIMITED, Plaintiff, v. SABENA, BELGIAN WORLD AIRLINES, et al., Defendants

The opinion of the court was delivered by: GREENE

This is an antitrust action brought by Laker Airways against a number of American and foreign airlines. Presently before the Court is plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction. Because of the apparently unprecedented circumstances which gave rise to this application, *fn1" it is appropriate to recite the background of the lawsuit in some detail.

 I

 On November 24, 1982, Laker Airways Limited (Laker) *fn2" brought an action in this Court under the Sherman Act (15 U.S.C. §§ 1 and 2) and the Clayton Act (15 U.S.C. § 15) against Pan American World Airways, Inc. (Pan American), Trans World Airlines Inc. (TWA), McDonnell Douglas Corporation (McDonnell Douglas), McDonnell Douglas Finance Corporation (McDonnell Finance), British Airways Board (British Airways), Deutsche Lufthansa Aktiengesellschaft (Lufthansa), Swiss Air Transport Company Limited (Swissair), and British Caledonian Airways Limited (British Caledonian). On February 15, 1983, a separate action, containing essentially the same allegations as those recited in the November 1982 complaint, *fn3" was brought by Laker against Sabena Belgian World Airlines (Sabena) and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (KLM).

 The complaints allege the following.

 Since 1946 the fares for scheduled air transportation have been set by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), an association of the world's major airlines, *fn4" at levels higher than would prevail in a competitive market. Laker began charter flight operations between Great Britain and the United States in 1970, and, starting in June 1971, it also began to seek permission to operate low-cost "Skytrain" transatlantic service. Resistance from the IATA airlines delayed implementation of the scheduled service until September 1977, but eventually Laker was able to provide every week over forty scheduled flights *fn5" at low fares, in addition to extensive charter service between the United States and Great Britain. Prior to the advent of Laker's Skytrain service from London to New York, which cost $115, the IATA-fixed economy fare on the same route was almost three times as much, or $313.

 The complaints further allege that, in response to Laker's low-fare service, the IATA airlines agreed on a predatory scheme to destroy both Laker's transatlantic charters and its Skytrain service. *fn6" In execution of that scheme, some of the IATA airlines offered their services on the New York-London route at below cost, expecting to drive Laker out of business, and expecting further that, once Laker was gone, they could and would raise their fares again to their previous high levels or above. In short, the complaint alleges a classic antitrust conspiracy.

  Plaintiff further claims that although the conspiracy did not bear fruit at first, *fn7" by 1981 Laker was so weakened by defendants' predatory activities and by a substantial drop in the dollar value of the pound sterling that it could not afford to reduce its fares further so as to compete with the fares adopted by defendants on some of Laker's routes. In October 1981, Pan American, TWA, and British Airways, seeking to end Laker's low-fare competition once and for all, decided to offer their own attractive, high-cost services at Laker's low prices on all of Laker's routes. *fn8" Subsequently, in the winter of 1981-82, the IATA met in Switzerland and in Florida to agree on a program to set new and higher fares for the spring and summer of 1982, but to fix the fares of IATA members at Laker's level as long as Laker was in business. *fn9"

 According to the complaint, the defendants also interfered with Laker's financing. By Christmas 1981, Laker had reached an agreement with its lenders for the financial support made necessary by its weakened condition. The IATA members thereupon successfully pressured Laker's lenders to deny Laker that financing, and on February 5, 1982, succumbing to this pressure, Laker was forced into liquidation.

 It was in response to these alleged activities that Laker filed the instant actions in this Court.

 II

 The first lawsuit proceeded in its normal course from November 24, 1982 to January 21, 1983. On that date, with no challenge to jurisdiction having been raised in this Court by any of the defendants, British Airways filed a declaratory judgment action against Laker filed in the Queen's Bench Division of the High Court of Justice in England *fn10" seeking a declaration of non-liability to Laker and a permanent injunction preventing Laker from continuing with its suit against British Airways in the United States. At the time of the filing of its complaint, British Airways also applied for and was immediately granted an injunction against interference with the conduct of the British court proceedings. *fn11" Within hours, British Caledonian, Lufthansa, and Swissair filed similar writs against Laker in the British court, and they likewise applied for, and were granted the identical injunction against Laker's seeking a counterinjunction.

 Mr. Justice Parker of the Queen's Bench Division set a hearing for March 21, 1983, at which it is to be determined whether Laker should be permanently enjoined from proceeding with its lawsuit in this Court against both British airlines on the basis that Great Britain is the more appropriate forum. *fn12"

 However, subsequently, by an order dated March 2, 1983, the British court all but decided this question at least with respect to British Airways and British Caledonian. That order, issued without a hearing and without any notice to plaintiff or to this Court, enjoins Laker from "taking any further steps in Civil Action 82-3362 [in this Court]" against the two British defendants. *fn13" The March 2 order, if valid, would preclude plaintiff from filing applications or motions in this Court, oppositions to motions filed by the defendants, and any other pleadings or papers. *fn14"

 The British court has indicated that it will decide at a later date the appropriateness of a permanent injunction at Lufthansa's and Swissair's urging, and that it will also hold trials on the merits of the claims that the airlines are not liable to Laker. In passing on these claims, the court apparently intends to decide issues of American antitrust law as well as of British law. *fn15"

 The papers filed in the British court, which have been forwarded to this Court by various parties *fn16" indicate *fn17" two bases for the extraordinary action of the British tribunal: (1) Laker is incorporated in Britain and for that reason it may and in these circumstances should be restrained from suing in the United States courts, and (2) because of the way the American legal system is structured, it is unlikely that the defendants can receive justice here.

 III

 The Court must decide whether to issue a preliminary injunction against the four American defendants and Sabena and KLM. *fn18" The Court will consider first the question whether it is likely that plaintiff will prevail on the merits of its permanent injunction request, *fn19" and thereafter (in Part VI) it addresses the relative balance of injuries and the public interest. *fn20"

 First. If the British court is proceeding on the assumption that, because Laker is a British corporation, it may not, under American law, sue in the courts of the United States *fn21" to vindicate rights under the American antitrust laws, *fn22" it would be mistaken. See Pfizer Inc. v. India, 434 U.S. 308, 54 L. Ed. 2d 563, 98 S. Ct. 584 (1978). As the Supreme Court there said:

 

The fact that Congress' foremost concern in passing the antitrust laws was the protection of Americans does not mean that it intended to deny foreigners a remedy when they are injured by antitrust violations. Treble-damages suits by foreigners who have been victimized by antitrust violations clearly may contribute to the protection of American consumers.

 434 U.S. at 314.

 Second. Except in unusual, very narrow circumstances, there is no basis -- at least not in a free country -- for precluding a citizen by an injunction-type order from suing in the courts of another nation. A number of courts have repeated in dicta the proposition that a court "has the power to enjoin a party over whom it has personal jurisdiction from pursuing litigation before a foreign tribunal." See, e.g., Western Electric Co. v. Milgo Electronic Corp., 450 F. Supp. 835, 837 (S.D. Fla. 1978). The power is rarely exercised, however, for "restraining a party from pursuing an action in a court of foreign jurisdiction involves delicate questions of comity and therefore 'requires that such action be taken only with care and great restraint.' Canadian Filters (Harwich) Ltd. v. Lear-Siegler, Inc., 412 F.2d 577, 578 (1st Cir. 1969)." Compagnie dex Bauxites de Guinea v. Insurance Company of North America, supra, 651 F.2d at 887 n.10 (3rd Cir. 1981). Indeed, when one examines the reported instances in which this power has actually been used, one finds that the fact situations are quite different from those involved in the instant cases.

 In Medtronic, Inc. v. Catalyst Research Corp., 518 F. Supp. 946, 955-56 (D. Minn. 1981), the court issued an injunction directed at proceedings in Germany and Canada (1) only after taking pains to emphasize that its order merely prevented the foreign courts from awarding a form of relief -- an injunction -- that is not an issue on the merits in the lawsuit before this Court, *fn23" and (2) by noting that the dispute between the parties was based on a contract between them that could be construed to forbid the foreign plaintiff from seeking injunctive relief against the United States plaintiff. Needless to say, here no similar contractual relationship exists between the parties, and the injunction proposed to be issued by the British court would abort all aspects of Laker's lawsuit.

 In another case cited by defendants, Harvey Aluminum, Inc. v. American Cyanamid Co., 203 F.2d 105 (2d Cir. 1953), the Court of Appeals stated that it was of the opinion that the District Court could enjoin prosecution of an action in British Guinea if that action had been filed purely out of vexatiousness, but that if the plaintiff had a legitimate reason to be in the British Guinea court on account of British Guinea law, the injunction should not issue.

 In Velsicol Chemical Corp. v. Hooker Chemical Corp., 230 F. Supp. 998 (N.D. Ill. 1964), the court stated that it would be inclined to issue an injunction solely to ensure the finality of its judgment, that is, to prevent a losing plaintiff from initiating proceedings abroad against the same defendant on the same cause of action. Similarly, in Bethell v. Peace, 441 F.2d 495 (5th Cir. 1971), a Florida court enjoined a Florida resident from proceeding with a previously filed lawsuit in the Bahamas involving a contract concerning Bahamian land against Florida residents. Like in Velsicol Chemical, the injunction constituted an effort to make conclusive the court's judgment. *fn24" This is wholly different from the instant cases, which (1) implicate a key statute of the United States; (2) involve alleged conduct that in part occurred and had significant effects in the United States; and (3) do not concern the enforcement of an existing British judgment. *fn25"

  Finally, in Cole v. Cunningham, 133 U.S. 107, 33 L. Ed. 538, 10 S. Ct. 269 (1890), a Massachusetts court enjoined a creditor of a Massachusetts insolvent from proceeding with an attachment action in New York. The creditor's action was an intentional circumvention of the Massachusetts laws regarding insolvency, not that much different from defendants' deliberate avoidance of American substantive and procedural law by their resort to the British courts. The holding is thus supportive of plaintiff's position rather than defendants'. *fn26"

 In short, the precedents cited by defendants differ factually in significant respects from the cases now before this Court. For that reason, and because of the breadth of the interference with United States law, ongoing court proceedings, and United States public policy, the injunction proposed to be issued by the British court is truly unprecedented by American standards. *fn27"

 Third. In addition to the circumstance that the American precedents would not support issuance of an injunction on the facts presented to Mr. Justice Parker, there is the perhaps even more significant fact that there are so few instances where any court, either in the United States or the United Kingdom, has asserted the power to enjoin its citizens from suing in the courts of another nation. The minimum lesson one can draw from this paucity of precedent is that, if a court has the authority to prevent a national from suing elsewhere, it may exercise this power only in the most extraordinary circumstances. *fn28"

 Yet there is nothing extraordinary about the suits brought in this Court by Laker. They are the garden-variety type of antitrust suit, involving what is claimed to be a combination of American corporations and foreign corporations doing substantial business in the United States which allegedly committed anticompetitive acts. In this age of multinational corporations, ever closer trade relations among the nations, instant communications, and air carriers closely binding the continents together, it is not at all unusual that activities of the kind here alleged should be claimed to have occurred in some instances. In short, there is nothing either unusual or vexatious *fn29" about the lawsuits brought in this Court. *fn30"

 Thus, if these lawsuits may be singled out for the extraordinary remedy of an injunction requiring a national to cease prosecuting this action, then a great many other lawsuits on both sides of the Atlantic, in the field of antitrust law as in many other fields, would qualify for similar treatment. *fn31" To put it another way, any decision which accepted the proposition that the court of the plaintiff's nationality may interfere with and effectively halt proceedings abroad in circumstances such as those involved here would set a far-reaching and dangerous precedent.

 American companies operate, directly or through subsidiaries, in many counties all over the world, sometimes on a massive scale. *fn32" Under the rationale which underlies the lawsuit in Great Britain, and which has at least provisionally been accepted by the British tribunal, *fn33" American courts could legitimately interject themselves, by means of injunctions, between those American corporations and the foreign courts, and the courts of nations other than the United States and the United Kingdom could, and no doubt would, do likewise. The consequences to international trade and to amicable relations between nations that would result from this kind of interference are difficult to overestimate. *fn34"

 Fourth. As concerns defendants' contention that the American courts are unable to do justice, the theory appears essentially to be that the discovery process established by American law is too expensive. *fn35" Debates have been going on for some time in the American legal profession as to whether pretrial discovery is, on balance, beneficial because it removes the element of surprise from litigation and contributes to fairer trials and fairer settlements by revealing evidence that might otherwise not be available, or whether it is detrimental because of its cost. Whatever may be the answer to that question, *fn36" it is hardly the proper province of a foreign court to prohibit the conduct of litigation here because it does not agree with the way in which the United States Congress and the American courts, including the Supreme Court, have dealt with this particular procedural problem.

 Again, if that were a proper standard in the British courts, it would also be appropriate for the American courts and the courts of other nations to take like factors into account in determining whether they should interfere with litigation abroad. There are few nations which measure up to the elaborate safeguards guaranteeing fairness that one finds in the United States Constitution and laws. Under the rationale upon which the British proceedings involving Laker and the other airlines are thus predicated, injunctions against foreign proceedings involving American citizens or corporations could become commonplace in the courts of this country whenever a United States court regarded the foreign country's procedures as inadequate.

 What is perhaps even more surprising than the denigration of American law by British courts *fn37" is that very large and reputable American law firms which routinely proceed under, and whose clients daily benefit from, the American discovery rules, would send their English solicitors into a foreign court to seek to enjoin proceedings in the United States on the ground that American courts cannot, under American legal procedure, be expected to do justice. *fn38" The argument based on the expense of litigation in this country is especially strange when it is advanced on behalf of many of the largest airlines in the world represented by these vast and, no doubt, expensive law firms against a plaintiff which is insolvent.

 Fifth. While two of the defendants are British, four of the other corporations are American and four are carriers chartered in continental Europe. It is difficult to visualize on what basis a British court could legitimately take jurisdiction -- let alone displace the jurisdiction of a United States tribunal -- where the complaint alleges violations of American law by American corporations and by foreign corporations which provide air service between the United States and Rotterdam, Brussels, Frankfurt, and other cities of continental Europe. *fn39" The arguments of the European defendants distill down to the proposition that continental Europe is closer to Britain than to the United States. *fn40" This is hardly a distinction that may be thought to make a difference in an era of multinational corporations and instant communications, especially when it is the parties' business to provide frequent commercial air service between Europe and America.

 Sixth. This Court does not know what evidence of antitrust violations will be adduced at trial. As noted, the complaint alleges a conspiracy involving both the American and the foreign carriers to violate the American antitrust laws with respect to their operations between Europe and the United States. Nevertheless, it would not be surprising if the effective elimination from the lawsuit of several of the defendants could cripple plaintiff's lawsuit. Furthermore, if that elimination through the action of the British court were to succeed, a precedent would be set that would be likely to undermine the effectiveness of the antitrust laws whenever multinational or foreign corporations are part of the anticompetitive scheme: a court somewhere in the world could surely always be found to issue orders similar to those sought from the British court in these cases to abort an ongoing antitrust action in this country.

 IV

 The defendants argue with considerable emphasis that the British court has an interest in deciding whether a British plaintiff may prosecute a lawsuit in a foreign court. *fn41" Assuming that such an interest exists -- as discussed supra, at least in the United States and in Great Britain any power based on such an interest is exercised only in very narrow circumstances -- it cannot displace the Court's authority and duty *fn42" to entertain and decide the instant lawsuits. *fn43"

 These actions were brought under a positive command of a crucial American statute that represents a very strong public policy. Indeed, the Sherman Act has frequently been called the charter of economic freedom and its role has been compared to that which the Bill of Rights plays with respect to personal freedoms. See United States v. Topco Associates, Inc., 405 U.S. 596, 610, 31 L. Ed. 2d 515, 92 S. Ct. 1126 (1972). The duty of this Court to entertain the present actions is buttressed by the constitutional mandate which guarantees to all those residing or doing business in the United States, such as Laker, due process and the equal protection of the laws. See, e.g., Plyler v. Doe, 457 U.S. 202, 72 L. Ed. 2d 786, 796, 102 S. Ct. 2382 (1982); quoting Yick Wo v. Hopkins, 118 U.S. 356, 369, 30 L. Ed. 220, 6 S. Ct. 1064 (1886). See also, Russian Volunteer Fleet v. United States, 282 U.S. 481, 489, 75 L. Ed. 473, 51 S. Ct. 229 (1930). *fn44"

 In the end, then, what is involved in this unfortunate controversy is the question whether greater weight ought to be accorded in cases of conflicting claims of jurisdiction to the nationality of the plaintiff or to the substantive law and the substantive public policies of the nation in whose courts the plaintiff brings the action. That question, moreover, must here be decided in the context of a factual situation where all the defendants were and still are substantially engaged in doing business in the United States; where certain of the acts allegedly committed in furtherance of the illegal conspiracy occurred in the United States; *fn45" where only in the United States can all the defendants surely be reached; *fn46" and where, if the British court enjoins the plaintiff with respect even to some of the defendants, it may be impossible to prove the conspiracy against any of them.

 But these are matters to be explored more fully at other stages -- perhaps on the motion for partial summary judgment on the forum non conveniens issue. The immediate question is whether this Court shall have the opportunity to decide whether it is an appropriate forum or whether a British court will assume that function. See Transcript of proceedings, January 27, 1983, where counsel for defendants stated (at pp. 16-17) that "the point of forum non conveniens . . . [is an issue which] we want . . . decided by the English court and not by the American court." This Court is aware of no precedent, and none has been cited by any party, holding that a forum non conveniens claim is to be decided by the tribunal to which a defendant wishes to have an action transferred rather than by the court in which the action is pending.

 V

 The conflict here is far from being a dry, abstractly legal dispute between jurisdictions or courts -- that is the least of it. Plaintiff has represented that in 1981 one in seven passengers flying between the United States and the United Kingdom was using low-fare Laker; *fn47" today, by contrast, travellers using scheduled airlines must pay the fare set by the IATA. According to the complaint, this result was brought about because several of the most powerful airlines of the western world banded together to commit violations of the American antitrust laws, engaging in activities which had the effect of driving Laker out of business and of injuring American consumers, among others, by making it impossible for them to continue to benefit from low airfares over the North Atlantic route.

 If the allegations of the complaint are true, but if United States courts are nevertheless prevented by the actions of a foreign tribunal from deciding these cases under American law, *fn48" transatlantic airfares are likely to be kept artificially inflated by the alleged cartel on a permanent basis. *fn49" Such a development would every year cost many thousands of American travellers hundreds of dollars each, and it would significantly injure American tourism and other businesses which depend upon or make substantial use of commercial air transport between the United States and Europe.

 Now that lawsuits are pending which are designed to determine whether the charges of law violations have merit, the defendant airlines have taken steps which, whatever the intention, would have the effect of aborting these actions so that they could never be decided. *fn50" Clearly, this Court has an obligation to see to it that the cases before it are disposed of in accordance with law, and it intends to discharge that obligation.

 It is to be hoped that the court in Great Britain will ultimately decide that it has no basis for interjecting itself into ongoing foreign lawsuits, *fn51" or that those who sought or have indicated their intention to seek an injunction in the British court will, upon reflection, proceed by way of normal litigation procedures here. *fn52" In any event, for the reasons stated, should these injunction cases be required to go forward, it is likely that plaintiff will prevail on the merits of its request for a permanent injunction. See note 20 supra.

 VI

 What remains to be considered is the balance of injuries and the public interest.

 It is clear that, if this Court does not issue an injunction to preclude the defendants from joining British Airways, British Caledonian, Swissair and Lufthansa in their actions in the British court, at least some of them, or more likely all of them, will do just that. KLM and Sabena have acknowledged their desire to join the British suits; the American defendants disavow any present intention to sue in the British courts but state that they may wish to "participate" in the proceedings there. Given the advantages to antitrust defendants of having the merits of antitrust claims adjudicated in the United Kingdom rather than in the United States (see infra), there is a strong likelihood that all defendants would move in the British courts as soon as they would be legally free to do so.

 Defendants argue that even if this forecast is accurate, plaintiff would still not be injured because the British court may decide that Britain is not the only proper forum for Laker's claims and may decline to issue a permanent injunction restraining the proceedings here. If the British court does proceed to the merits of the allegations, they continue, it may be expected to grant just relief, either under the United States antitrust laws or the British conspiracy laws. *fn53" These predictions can only be characterized as a mirage.

 It is quite clear that no British tribunal could or would proceed to enforce the Sherman Act. 15 U.S.C. § 15 lays venue only "in any district court of the United States." Cf. General Investment Co. v. Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Ry. Co., 260 U.S. 261, 287, 67 L. Ed. 244, 43 S. Ct. 106 (1922) (state court may not hear claim brought under antitrust laws; right to sue to be "exercised only in a 'court of the United States'"). The problems that would be involved in trying to prove American antitrust law for purposes of application by a foreign court are reason enough for a foreign court to decline to hear such a case. *fn54"

 Moreover, given the hostility of the British courts to the American antitrust laws, see infra, it would be wholly unrealistic to assume that a British court would enforce the Sherman Act even if it had legal power to do so.

 Confining Laker to British law is equally inadequate. The House of Lords has ruled twice, once in 1891 and again in 1982, that under British law it is not unlawful for a corporation to monopolize commerce by offering exceptional terms resulting in losses so as to drive competitors out of business, with the expectation that the losses will be recouped later once the competitor has been eliminated. These decisions further hold that the crux of an unlawful conspiracy is an intent to injure the plaintiff, and that an agreement or combination which has as its purpose the protection of the interests of the defendants, whatever they may be, is not unlawful. See Lonhro Ltd. v. Shell Petroleum Co. Ltd., [1982] A.C. 173, 189 (1981); Mogul Steamship Co., Ltd. v. McGregor, Gow & Co., [1982] A.C. 25, 35-6, 40 (1891). In these critical respects, British law is thus totally different from American law, *fn55" and it is plain that to relegate Laker to British law as applied by the British courts would only be to ensure that those courts would issue the declaration of non-liability that the airlines which are already before the Queen's Bench are presently seeking. *fn56"

 Such a result is quite consistent with the way in which British law, both parliamentary and judge-made, regards antitrust principles in general. The Protection of Trading Interests Act of 1980 directs British courts not to enforce treble damage awards against British firms, and this same act's "clawback" provision allows non-United States firms doing business in the United Kingdom to sue there to recover two-thirds of treble damage awards levied against them in the United States. British courts have long bemoaned what they regard as the wrongful extraterritorial reach of the American antitrust laws. See, e.g., British Nylon Spinners Ltd v. Imperial Chemical Industries Ltd., [1953] 1 Ch. 19 (Court of Appeal, 1952).

 In short, the situation is not that British law might be slightly less favorable to plaintiff than American law, *fn57" and that therefore Laker cannot be deemed to be truly injured if it is left to its remedies in the British courts. See note 59 infra. Rather, it may be expected that, if this Court should fail to issue an injunction and thus allow those defendants which are still before this Court to join with their alleged coconspirators before the Queen's Bench Division, the British court may very well (1) enjoin Laker from pursuing its remedies against any of the defendants in this Court, *fn58" and (2) enter a judgment on the merits that the defendants here (plaintiffs there) are not liable to Laker for the acts averred in the complaints. *fn59" The Court finds that, for these reasons, plaintiff would be irreparably injured if the Court does not issue an injunction.

 The defendants argue that they will suffer irreparable injury if an injunction is granted. Sabena states that if "forced to defend itself against Laker's claims in the United States, it will be exposed to the risk of enormous potential liability, the possible use of 'escalating settlement' tactics by the plaintiffs, substantial litigation expense, and a significant disruption of its affairs." Memorandum at 15. It observes that "all of these undesirable consequences can be avoided if the British courts determine that Laker may not lawfully pursue its claims against Sabena in the United States. None of them can be recouped if Sabena is prevented from obtaining such a ruling." KLM makes a similar argument.

 A court of the United States can have little sympathy with such a position. If Sabena and KLM are concerned about the prospect of United States antitrust liability they should not do business here. *fn60" On the other hand, if they feel strongly that they are immune from the antitrust laws for some reason, or that this Court should decline to exercise its subject matter jurisdiction in this case, they may legitimately be expected to follow the established American procedures and file appropriate motions to that effect. Their proper remedy is not to assume the existence of a "right" to go into the courts of a third country so as to circumvent American substantive and procedural law. *fn61"

 The irreparable injury claimed by the American defendants consists of their being prevented "from protecting their rights by participating, or even providing evidence, in the ongoing English proceedings whose outcome may well reflect on the American defendant's own potential liability, if any, under English law." This injury is purely speculative at this point. Moreover, as noted infra (note 63), the Court will entertain a proposal by the American defendants to modify the order.

 For the foregoing reasons, the Court finds that the injury to Laker from a denial of the injunction far outweighs the injury to defendants resulting from its issuance. Considerations of the public interest also favor the plaintiff. Laker alleges that numerous American consumers were injured by the defendants' predatory acts that led to its demise and with it the alternative of low-cost, no frills transatlantic air service. The public interest clearly favors a full airing of these claims in the manner envisioned by the Sherman Act.

 VII

 The Court exceedingly regrets that it must issue an injunction in this case. However, it is worth emphasizing that this Court had no part in precipitating the current dispute. The lawsuit pending before it was proceeding in its normal course, *fn62" when the British court, without appropriate regard to principles of comity, proceeded to interfere with that action. At that juncture, this Court's options were severely limited. It could either issue its own injunction to prevent at least the remaining defendants -- those from the United States and some of those from the European continent -- from seeking shelter from United States law in a British court, or it could acquiesce in silence in the effort to have a foreign tribunal decide on this Court's jurisdiction and to see the plaintiff's Sherman Act rights dissipated. With regret, the Court has no choice but to follow the former course.

 For the reasons stated, a preliminary injunction *fn63" was issued *fn64" restraining the defendants from taking any action in a foreign forum that would impair or interfere with the jurisdiction of this Court in these cases or the freedom of plaintiff to prosecute these actions. *fn65"


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Official citation and/or docket number and footnotes (if any) for this case available with purchase.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.