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[Sky Bahamas] Sky’S $500,000 Damages Battle Restored By Court

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[Sky Bahamas] Sky’S $500,000 Damages Battle Restored By Court

Unread post by bimjim » Thu Feb 07, 2019

http://www.tribune242.com/news/2019/feb ... red-court/

[Sky Bahamas] Sky’S $500,000 Damages Battle Restored By Court
Wednesday, February 6, 2019
NEIL HARTNELL Tribune Business Editor

Sky Bahamas’ bid to challenge almost $500,000 in damages awarded to a rival Bahamian airline has been reinstated by the Court of Appeal.

The court, in a unanimous January 29 verdict, ruled that the carrier’s objection to the sum awarded to Southern Air as a result of a ground collision between their respective planes should be restored notwithstanding that its attorneys failed to appear for a set hearing.

The missed date was blamed on “a lapse” in procedures at the Lennox Paton law firm, and appeal justice Jon Isaacs agreed with Southern’s attorney, Gia Moxey-Lockhart, that this “fell far short of being a satisfactory explanation”.

However, he ruled: “While it is apparent that there was a breakdown in the internal communication process of [Sky Bahamas] legal advisors’ firm, we were unable to conclude that this excuse was so egregiously inadequate that the applicant should be driven from the judgment seat.”

Appeal Justice Isaacs added that the two days taken by Sky Bahamas to apply for its appeal’s reinstatement did not amount to an “inordinate delay”, and Southern advanced no argument that its case or rights had been negatively impacted by the delay.

He ruled that it was in “the interest of justice” to reinstate Sky Bahamas’ appeal, which related to the $497,954 damages awarded against it - and in Southern Air’s favour - by the Supreme Court registrar, Donna Newton, on September 25, 2017.

The damages, which were broken down into $280,540 for loss of the aircraft’s use; $141,315 for the reduction in the plane’s value; and $76,000 for repair costs, related to a June 1, 2009, accident where the two companies’ aircraft collided on the tarmac at Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA).

“A 1987 Beechcraft 190CC, 19-seat aircraft owned by JODA LLC and operated by [Southern] collided with [Sky Bahamas] aircraft and sustained a modicum of damage. The applicant [Sky Bahamas] accepted liability for the incident, but disputed the respondent’s damages claim,” the Court of Appeal ruled.

Captain Randy Butler, Sky Bahamas’ chief executive, told Tribune Business that the restoration of the carrier’s appeal was “fair” and he “did not expect it any other way”.

Recalling that he had just joined Sky Bahamas when the accident occurred, he added: “It was a ground incident where the planes were parked. It wasn’t big damage; it was small damage. We took responsibility for it, were willing to fix it, and do whatever we could to assist Southern. The next day I did the flight they were supposed to do with that plane. Everybody was shocked when the bill came back.”

Captain Butler said Sky Bahamas had suffered no loss because the claim was being dealt with by insurers, who were effectively behind the carrier’s appeal in a bid to minimise their payout.

“It was something that could have been taken care of right away,” he added. “It didn’t disrupt my business, didn’t disrupt their business. There’s no dispute about who’s responsible and willingness to pay. We took responsibility, and insurance was willing to pay for it, from day one. We did all we could to help even though insurance took over.”

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