A Supreme Court dispute between Ryanair and a labor union over the threat of a pilot strike in 2019 has been settled.
Judge Brian O’Mor congratulated the parties on Wednesday for finding a solution to what he called « a case that would have been fantastic had it been addressed. »
The case centered on a claim by Ryanair DAC that it incurred millions of lost bookings and of the impact on prices arising from the planned industry action, which did not go forward after the airline obtained an injunction from the Supreme Court.
She also claimed that she has suffered additional damages from negative publicity and damage to her business and brand.
These allegations were rejected.
The injunction was obtained on August 21, 2019, preventing Fórsa, the parent federation of the IALPA pilots’ union, from proceeding with a planned 48-hour strike from August 22, 2019, in an industry dispute over wages and terms.
The liability issue in Ryanair’s main action, against Fórsa and 11 designated individuals including IALPA chief Ivan Colin, was due to be heard on Wednesday and was due to last four weeks.
In the lead up to the main action, there were preliminary hearings regarding requests from both sides to discover certain information and documents they said they needed for the case. Information regarding secret mediation efforts ahead of the planned 2019 industrial strike was material.
Among these is the defendants’ request for information in electronic communications within Ryanair in connection with the industrial dispute.
Mr Justice O’Mor ruled that searches must be done by Ryanair for text messages, WhatsApp messages, instant messages, iPads and cell phones for electronic entries that fall into the discovery categories. It was to include electronically stored documents, meeting notes, handwritten notes, text messages, phone records, WhatsApp messages and other instant messages created, created or maintained by Ryanair Group CEO Michael O’Leary.
The judge expressed his satisfaction with Mr. O’Leary’s involvement in the events that led to the filing of the lawsuit.
In fact, he said, O’Leary’s interactions with Captain Evan Cullen were alluded to in the discovery Ryanair had to make.
He said O’Leary’s involvement might not end there. The judge said there was no affidavit from O’Leary that he had no or had little to do with dealings with Fórsa in 2018 and 2019, « dealings that were clearly very significant in relation to the airline. »
« One would expect a group CEO to have such involvement, even if he was not the main driver or co-broker with the union, » he said.
When the case was brought before Judge O’Mor on Wednesday, Martin Hayden, with Eoin O’Shea BL, in favor of Ryanair, told the court that it appeared that « the judge’s Christmas card has arrived in Santa and peace has broken out » and the case would not proceed.
He said details of the settlement are being worked out and the case could be postponed until Thursday for that to happen.
Rossa Fanning SC, on behalf of the defendants, has agreed that the case can be presented Thursday until that happens.
The judge said he was grateful for the papers he received right before the case that he now won’t have to read. He said he would sit down again in the morning when the matter could be mentioned.