But there are other reasons why Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly of the U.S. District Court in Washington might have little choice but to pick a date on the earlier side.
The DOJ's lawsuit has halted a U.S. bankruptcy court's efforts to rule on the reorganization plan for AMR, which calls for the company to be acquired by US Airways. The DOJ's lawsuit against the merger came just two days before AMR presented U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Sean Lane with its reorganization plan. Because of the merger challenge, Lane has asked involved parties to brief him on whether or not the plan should go ahead. He will hold a hearing on the question on Thursday in Manhattan.
Kollar-Kotelly's calendar also favors a trial date sooner rather than later. She has warned the parties that a criminal trial is set to begin Jan. 14 and last eight weeks. If she schedules the merger trial to begin after the New Year it's unlikely that she would feel comfortable with a date any earlier than March 11, eight weeks after the criminal trial's start. A 2014 start would make it difficult to hold the bankruptcy reorganization plan together, however.
-- Written by Bill McConnell