Wednesday, June 3, 2009


Former Skybus Employees Settle: Compensation to Average $1,800

June 2, 2009
Marla Matzer Rose--The Columbus Dispatch

Former Skybus Airlines employees will receive an average of about $1,800 each under a settlement of a lawsuit over the lack of notice that their jobs were being eliminated as the airline went out of business.

The settlement was approved last week by the bankruptcy court in the state of Delaware and marks the end of a class-action suit filed days after Skybus shut down.

It alleged that the Columbus-based airline violated the Workers Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, which requires companies to give 60 days' notice of mass layoffs, with limited exceptions.

In March, the two sides said they had agreed to settle the suit.

After several weeks of negotiation, the Skybus estate agreed to pay $925,000, about half of its estimated liability of $2 million. After paying $2,500 apiece to the two lead plaintiffs and $306,000 in fees to the plaintiffs' attorney, $613,333 will be distributed among the 342 former workers covered by the suit.

The amount received by each worker is based on the salary being received when the airline went out of business.

While most of the workers were rank and file, former Chief Executive Officer Bill Diffenderffer and President Ken Gile are among those listed as among the plaintiffs.

Skybus had contended that it didn't have to give notice, because it was covered by an exception for "faltering" companies that are actively seeking capital to avoid layoffs at the time of shutdown.

The plaintiffs disagreed, saying that "internal errors made by the defendant with respect to its cash needs and not discovered until shortly before" the shutdown was the cause of the layoffs.

"I'm pleased we were able to reach a settlement and get some money in the hands of these people," said James Huggett, the attorney for the former employees.

"They say a good settlement is one where the people on both sides of the table walk away a little unhappy. We didn't get everything we wanted, and neither did they."

Barry Barnard, Skybus' chief financial officer, who has been overseeing the wind-down of the company, could not be reached for comment.

The Skybus estate filed its modified plan of liquidation in March and has been dealing with ongoing claims disputes from several creditors. If the proceedings continue as planned, the case should wrap up in the next several months.

Source: Copyright (c) 2009, The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

it reallllly bothers me that bill diffenderffer is one of the plaintiffs though. like he hasnt already gotten enough money out of skybus...bastard. there is a special place in hell reserved for him.