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CROCKER v. PIEDMONT AVIATION

August 11, 1989

HOBART N. CROCKER, JR., Plaintiff,
v.
PIEDMONT AVIATION, INC., Defendant


Royce C. Lamberth, United States District Judge.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: LAMBERTH

ROYCE C. LAMBERTH, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

 This case comes before the court on plaintiff's motion in limine, defendant's opposition thereto, and plaintiff's reply.

 The purpose of a motion in limine is to "procure a definitive ruling on the admissibility of evidence at the outset of the trial." 21 C. Wright & K. Graham, Jr., Federal Practice and Procedure § 5037, at 194 (1977) (hereinafter Federal Practice And Procedure); see also Koller By And Through Koller v. Richardson-Merrell, 237 App. D.C. 333, 737 F.2d 1038, 1067 (D.C. Cir. 1984) (concurring opinion) (such motions help to "resolve in advance . . . problems that can be reasonably anticipated or expected to arise at the trial"). The court recognizes that in some cases and with regard to some issues it is "difficult to make a proper [evidentiary] ruling out of the context of the trial," Federal Practice and Procedure, at 195, but finds that this case has matured to a point where the court is able now to address some portions of plaintiff's motion. *fn1"

 Plaintiff in this case seeks injunctive relief directing defendant Piedmont Airlines to hire him as a pilot, as well as monetary damages in the form of back pay and other foregone compensation. In his complaint, plaintiff alleges that defendant failed to hire him in violation of the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 (hereinafter "ADA" or "the Act"). Specifically, in his complaint, plaintiff alleges that he submitted an application for employment to defendant on July 1, 1982, that he was interviewed by defendant's director of personnel in North Carolina on July 6, 1982, and that defendant has not communicated with plaintiff since that interview aside from sending him a form letter asking that plaintiff resubmit his resume. Plaintiff further alleges that defendant "has filled vacancies for which plaintiff's application was timely by hiring, instead of plaintiff, additional pilots who do not enjoy 'protected employee' status and were not previously employed, furloughed or terminated by Piedmont." Complaint, at 3.

 In pertinent part, the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 states that:

 
Each person who is a protected employee of an air carrier . . . shall have first right of hire, regardless of age, in his occupational specialty, by any other carrier hiring additional employees . . . . Each such air carrier hiring additional employees shall have a duty to hire such a person before they hire any other person, except that such air carrier may recall any of its own furloughed employees before hiring such a person.

 49 U.S.C. App. § 1552 (d)(1) (Supp. 1988). Under section 43(f) of the ADA, the Secretary of Labor was granted authority to issue implementing regulations, which were issued in late 1985. See Fed. Reg. 53094 (1985); 29 C.F.R. §§ 220.01 -.51 (1987). The United States Supreme Court has stated that "the language of the[] provisions [of the ADA] is sufficiently unambiguous to notify carriers of their responsibilities and sufficiently detailed to require little further action on the part of the Secretary." Alaska Airlines v. Brock, 480 U.S. 678, 107 S. Ct. 1476, 1482, 94 L. Ed. 2d 661 (1987). Nonetheless, the Secretary has exercised the authority to issue implementing regulations and those regulations are entitled to deference by the court. *fn2"

 Portions of the regulations promulgated by the Secretary are relevant to the resolution of the issues now before the court. In pertinent part, section 220.20(a) of the regulations provides that a covered airline had a duty to hire only those "protected" employees who

 
otherwise meet[] the qualification requirements established by such carrier before it hires any other applicant when such carrier is seeking to fill a vacancy in the designated *fn3" employee's occupational specialty from outside its work force.

 29 C.F.R. § 220.20(a) (1987). Section 220.21 further provides in pertinent part that

 
[a] covered air carrier shall be entitled to apply any prerequisites or qualifications determined by it for any vacancy, except that, solely with respect to the duty to hire created by the Act, a covered air carrier shall not be entitled to limit employment opportunities for designated employees on the basis of
 
(1) Initial hiring age (provided that such prohibition shall not be applicable to retirement ages applicable to all of any class or craft of such air carrier's employees); or

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