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.
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.
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.
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,
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
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.