Judge delays Hawaiian Air suit against Mesa
A request for an injunction to keep go! from selling tickets won't be heard until September
Mesa Air Group Inc. yesterday won a delay in proceedings over Hawaiian Airlines' request for a preliminary injunction to keep Mesa from selling interisland tickets.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Faris agreed to postpone the hearing from Aug. 7 until Sept. 15, but denied a request by Mesa to continue the hearing until mid-October.
Mesa asked for the delay because it said it needed time to question a key witness.
Hawaiian is seeking a preliminary injunction that would prevent interisland carrier go!, a subsidiary of Mesa, from selling new tickets for one year.
Hawaiian claims Mesa used information from Hawaiian's proprietary data -- which Mesa had been allowed to see while it was a potential investor during Hawaiian's bankruptcy -- more than a year after the information was supposed to have been destroyed.
Mesa said in court documents that Mark Schulte, formerly a consultant to Hawaiian bankruptcy trustee Joshua Gotbaum, had informed Mesa Chief Financial Officer Peter Murnane that the information Mesa was allowed to see during the bankruptcy did not include information of value to potential new entrants to the interisland market.
Mesa's motion said Schulte would not voluntarily give testimony in the litigation but would respond to a subpoena.
Mesa also said it may question Gotbaum to obtain information on the extent of the data that was available to first-round bidders like Mesa.
Schulte's testimony "will likely show that the 'crown jewels' HAL alleges Mesa misused did not even include competitively sensitive information," the motion said.
Mesa also said it had discovered additional documents that it prepared about Hawaiian that were to have been presented to potential investors in go!. Mesa said it is reviewing those documents.
Hawaiian argued that if Mesa believed Schulte and Gotbaum had information helpful to Mesa's case that Mesa should have questioned the individuals during the past three-plus months, and that Mesa's "discovery" of additional documents doesn't justify a hearing postponement.
"Mesa approaches this court with unclean hands in at least two respects," the motion said, claiming that Mesa has not complied with its discovery obligations and has submitted false and/or misleading testimony.
"Mesa's emergency application should be seen for what it is -- a second effort to obtain a lengthy continuance of the hearing on the preliminary injunction motion," the filing said. The hearing date already had been postponed once, from Aug. 4 to Aug. 7.