Ninth Circuit Dismisses Challenge to Southwest-AirTran Merger

Skadden represented Southwest Airlines in securing the dismissal of an appeal by plaintiffs challenging the company’s merger with AirTran Holdings, which closed on May 2. On May 3, the plaintiffs filed their complaint and a motion for a temporary restraining order to block the transaction in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, claiming the merger would create a monopoly. The district court denied the motion, and the decision was appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, where the plaintiffs also moved for an emergency hold-separate order. On June 2, the Ninth Circuit issued an order wholly in favor of Southwest, dismissing the appeal for lack of jurisdiction and denying the plaintiffs’ related emergency motion as moot.