Orbitz, American Airlines in dispute over alleged settlement
BY THOMAS KOROSEC & ANDREW HARRIS Bloomberg News
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
2/13/13 at 3:39 AM
Orbitz Worldwide Inc., the online travel-reservations business, asked a judge Tuesday to order American Airlines to honor an alleged agreement to settle an antitrust lawsuit filed by the carrier.
Attorneys for the airline, a unit of bankrupt AMR Corp., told U.S. District Judge Terry R. Means at a hearing in Fort Worth that while terms of an accord were discussed, no settlement was reached. Chicago-based Orbitz disagreed.
"There was an offer, a term sheet, no exceptions, and there was acceptance," Orbitz attorney Christopher Yates told the judge, referring to terms the lawyer said Fort Worth-based American sent to his client in August.
In October, the airline resolved disputes with Sabre Holdings Inc., which had been a co-defendant in the federal case that also includes Travelport LP.
American claims a conspiracy existed to block it from entering the electronic flight-data and reservations business.
Orbitz filed papers with the court under seal on Jan. 30, asking Means to compel enforcement of the agreement it argues it has with the airline.
The accord called for no payment to either party, mutual releases from liability and Orbitz's agreement to provide American with information it could use against the other defendants in the litigation, Yates said in court Tuesday. In exchange, the airline would drop the case against his client, he said.
Airline lawyer Paul Yetter said the deal wasn't completed.
"It was very clear in their discussions: All agreements had to be in writing," Yetter told the court. "The key thing is the 'I accept.'
"There was never a conversation like 'OK, we have a deal."
Means said he will issue a ruling later this week.
Original Print Headline: Orbitz says American deal OK'd