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21 January 2015
American Airlines recently filed an injunction action requesting the Federal Court to revoke Decision 1135/13 of the National Administration of Civil Aviation (ANAC), which imposed a fine on the airline for allegedly operating a non-approved scheduled flight.
Further, American Airlines petitioned the court to declare several articles of Law 26/854 unconstitutional and requested that the fine be suspended until the court has issued its final decision. The first-instance federal judge held in favour of ANAC using the arguments invoked by the federal district attorney, which in the view of American Airlines were erroneous.
American Airlines appealed on the grounds that the first-instance court's decision used arguments from the federal district attorney. The Federal Civil and Commercial Court of Appeals Chamber III reversed the first-instance court decision by two votes to one in a minority opinion in accordance with the Argentine Civil and Commercial Code of Procedures. Under the code, when a party requests an injunction against another party and has a credible right, and there is a need to take immediate action, the courts have the right to decide on the petition before notifying the party against which the decision was taken.
Contrary to the rules of the Procedures Code Law 26/854, Article 4 sets forth that in injunction actions against the state, the court must request information from the government agency against which the action was filed relating to public interest that could be in danger if the petition was granted. Further, the government agency must provide the information on which the administrative decision was based within five working days and attach the documents that it considers to be evidence.
Among others things, American Airlines requested that the following provisions of Law 26/854 be declared unconstitutional because they give the state rights not granted to physical or legal parties thus creating an imbalance between them:
American Airlines appealed the first-instance court decision. The appeal was heard by Chamber III of the Civil and Commercial Federal Court in Buenos Aires, which consists of three judges. Judge Antelo decided in favour of the minority, taking into account the fact that the judge receives information from the state that helps him or her to make a better decision. Further, he stated that Law 26/854 was not unconstitutional, that ANAC Decision 1135/13 was reasonable and that its application could not be considered an indication that the parties are not equal regarding constitutional rights. Further, Antelo stated that American Airlines did not provide firm evidence of the damages that it had suffered due to the issuance of Decision 1135/13 and voted to reaffirm the first-instance decision.
Judges Medina and Recondo held in favour of American Airlines and sent the case to the first-instance court for a ruling on the injunction petition. In their decision Medina and Recondo argued as follows:
The same chamber reached the same conclusion in two additional cases filed by American Airlines.(1)
For further information on this topic please contact Elizabeth Mireya Freidenberg at Freidenberg Freidenberg & Lifsic by telephone (+54 11 4311 4991), fax (+54 11 4311 0852) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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