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Date: 04-22-1999

Case Style: John Rickert v. United Parcel Service

Case Number: 92-CI-251, 95-CA-1288-MR & 95-CA-1464-MR

Judge: Edwin A. Schroering, Jr.

Court: Circuit Court, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Plaintiff's Attorney: Hollis L. Searcy, Claudia K. Grenough, Manley N. Feinberg and John Robert Shelton of Mapother & Mapother, Louisville, Kentucky

Defendant's Attorney: Tony C. Coleman of Westfall, Talbott & Woods, Louisville, Kentucky; D. Patton Pelfrey, Winston E. Miller, and Charles B. Allen III of Brown, Todd & Heyburn, Louisville, Kentucky PLLC, Louisville, Kentucky

Description: In 1987, United Parcel Service Company and United Parcel Service of America, Inc., hereinafter referred to as "UPS", decided to change its parcel delivery business by establishing its own airline. The transition from contract air cargo carriers to an internal air transport system was not completed until the end of 1988. UPS ultimately hired 811 pilots. During the transition, UPS expressed its desire to hire pilots who remained throughout that period with its contract carriers, including Orion Air, which employed Rickert. Orion ceased operation after the UPS transition. Rickert, a captain with Orion, was not hired by UPS but did obtain employment in the spring of 1989 in a less lucrative position as a second officer with American Airlines.

In his suit, Rickert alleged damages flowing from the breach of contract, promissory estoppel and fraud by UPS based on promises purportedly made by an unnamed UPS management representative in a September 1987 meeting attended by Rickert and 50 to 75 other Orion pilots. During the three-week trial, the evidence presented by each side differed considerably regarding whether employment with UPS was guaranteed to pilots who stayed with Orion throughout the 16-month transition period.

Outcome: Directed verdict for defendants on plaintiff's breach of contract claim and jury awarded Rickert $746,516 in compensatory damages and $2 million in punitive damages.

Plaintiff's Experts: Unknown

Defendant's Experts: Unknown

Comments: Affirmed by the Supreme Court of Kentucky on April 22, 1999. The date shown above is the date of the appellate court decision and not the trial date.

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