mars 24, 2023


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Supreme Court orders direct search of Michael O’Leary’s letters

The Supreme Court has ordered a search of letters from Ryanair Group CEO Michael O’Leary, as part of the airline’s move on the threat of a 2019 pilots’ strike, which was called off after an injunction was obtained.

Judge Brian O’Mor also denied Ryanair’s request to disclose all documents the low-cost airline said Aer Lingus had regarding confidential and commercially sensitive information about the threat of a 48-hour industrial strike in August 2019.

Ruling on a number of discovery matters Thursday, the judge ordered a search of such text messages, phone records, WhatsApp messages or other instant messages made, relating to this matter, that Mr. O’Leary created or maintained.

The judge said it was not enough for Ryanair to say Mr O’Leary had a small amount of involvement to prevent searches related to records made, created or kept by Mr O’Leary from being conducted.

meeting notes

Ryanair has relied on the fact that Ryanair Assistant O’Leary has been identified as a trustee and that any relevant documents stored electronically, meeting notes and handwritten notes made or created by Mr. O’Leary will be discovered as a result of a search on his site. plugin records.

The judge said he was not prepared to accept that. Ryanair has not suggested that text messages, phone logs, WhatsApp messages or other instant messages sent, created or maintained by O’Leary will appear from searching Assistant logs.

Therefore, he set the direction of the search to be carried out in the records of Mr. O’Leary.

He also directed that an explanation be given on the affidavit as to how all electronically stored documents, meeting notes and handwritten notes to Mr.

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The judge also noted the lack of an affidavit from Mr O’Leary that he had no or little involvement in dealings with Fórsa in 2018 and 2019 – dealings that were clearly very significant in relation to the airline.

He said one would expect a group CEO to have such involvement, even if he was not the main driver or co-driver, in mediating with the union regarding the threatened industrial strike.

union dispute

Ryanair is suing the Fórsa union and a number of pilots, including the president of the Ialpa pilots’ union, Captain Evan Cullen, alleging it incurred millions in losses as a result of the threat of a 48-hour industrial strike in August 2019.

The defendants deny these allegations.

The ruling came on the heels of requests from both sides in the dispute to disclose the documents. On Tuesday, there was a hearing regarding a so-called « non-party » discovery against Aer Lingus, which is not a party to the proceedings.

Ryanair has sought to discover any communication between Mr Cullen and Aer Lingus chief operating officer Mike Rutter stemming from emails exchanged between the two men in the run-up to the menacing strike.

Martin Hayden SC, with Eoin O’Shea BL, said the information was of great commercial interest to rival Aer Lingus during the summer of 2019. It would either help his client’s case or might undermine the defendants’ case.

Aer Lingus app viewer. The defendants had no position on this request.

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Judge O’Mor denied Ryanair’s request for a number of reasons.

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He said the discovery app actually arose out of Ryanair’s fears of sharing its confidential information with Aer Lingus.

He said the emails (Cullen/Rutter), when properly viewed, do not support the suggestion that Aer Lingus has documentation relevant to matters already being litigated in these proceedings, and that the scope of discovery required.

He said the scope of the discovery, which Ryanair declined to specify at the hearing, was the least of many reasons the discovery application failed.