Legal Postings: Declaratory Judgment in the State of North Carolina

On March 2, 2015, the West Pilots made two filings in the Declaratory Judgment action regarding USAPA’s right to defer disillusion, which is presently pending in the United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina:

  1. Opposition to USAPA’s Request for Hearing on Pending Motions (Doc. 35), and
  2. Opposition to USAPA’s Motion to Amend and/or Supplement the Declaratory Judgment Complaint (Doc. 36).

As to USAPA’s Request for Hearing on Pending Motions (Doc. 34), on February 11, 2015 USAPA requested that the court schedule oral argument on the four motions currently pending:

  • Defendants’ motion to dismiss the complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction (and, as to Leonidas, also for failure to state a claim);
  • USAPA’s motion for jurisdictional discovery;
  • USAPA’s motion to remand the declaratory judgment action back to North Carolina State Court; and
  • USAPA’s motion for leave to file an amended and/or supplemental complaint.

The request for argument is straightforward and usually not controversial. Usually, the parties to an action, like USAPA here, welcome the opportunity to address the court to explain their respective positions and answer any questions the court may have about the facts and how the law applies to the case. However, the West Pilots see things differently and oppose oral argument on various stated grounds, including that, in their view, argument is unnecessary and would be substantially burdensome given that they and their counsel are all located in Arizona. They also argue that oral argument is premature because the court should first resolve the question of which court should hear the case, North Carolina state court, where USAPA filed the complaint and where it belongs, or federal court, the court to which defendants moved the case for strategic reasons.

As to USAPA’s Motion to Amend and/or Supplement the Declaratory Judgment Complaint, USAPA made the motion because the West Pilots made various demands of USAPA after the date the complaint was initially filed in September, 2014 arising out of and related to USAPA’s decision to defer dissolution and asset distribution, including that USAPA pay the expenses of the West Pilots’ merger committee and for USAPA to distribute a pro rata share of the 0.5% dues increase for the West Pilots to use in the seniority integration proceedings, both of which resulted from the January 2015 decision of the Preliminary Arbitration Board.

Motions to amend and/or supplement are liberally granted and, in fact, are routinely agreed to among the parties to avoid unnecessary motion practice (and legal fees). Not only did the West Pilots refuse to stipulate so as to avoid this motion practice, they filed papers opposing the motion to amend – even while conceding they made additional demands since the filing of the complaint – that rehash arguments made previously and which are legally irrelevant to the question before the court.

USAPA will have to address the West Pilots’ spurious opposition in its reply papers, which are due on March 12, 2015.

The above filings, as well as the corresponding Exhibit A (Doc 36-1) to the West Pilots' Opposition to USAPA's Motion to Amend, are available in the Legal Library.


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