Swift Air LLC executives Jeffry Conry and Boris Van Lier are claiming that Saipan Air LLC has failed to identify any improper reimbursements from Swift Air to either of them.
Conry and Van Lier, through counsel Michael A. White, asserted that if there were such an improper reimbursement, Swift Air, or the litigation trustee in the Swift Air bankruptcy, might at most have a claim against Conry and Van Lier to recover assets belonging to the corporation.
White brought up the reimbursement matter, among other issues, in Conry’s and Van Lier’s reply in support of their motion in limine.
In their motion, the defendants want to exclude eight classes of evidence, primarily on grounds of relevancy and unfair prejudice.
White asked the U.S. District Court for the NMI to exclude evidence relating to Van Lier’s credit card statements.
“Evidence that the reimbursements were not audited and that defendant Van Lier’s requests for reimbursement were not questioned by Swift Air does not make this evidence relevant to the remaining issues in this case,” he said.
The lawyer said Saipan Air argues that Swift Air had paid some of Van Lier’s personal expenses.
But White said although Van Lier’s credit card statements have been produced, Saipan Air did not identify a single reimbursement for personal expenses that it said was wrongfully made by Swift Air to Van Lier.
Furthermore, White pointed out that a personal benefit is not an element of a fraud claim.
The lawyer said evidence related to defendants’ salaries and reimbursements made by Swift Air to defendants should be excluded.
White said the defendants’ salaries may be relevant if the jury is permitted to consider awarding punitive damages.
However, he said, reimbursements the defendants received more than 30 months ago for expenses they incurred on behalf of Swift Air have no relevance to their current net worth or financial position.
White asked the court that Saipan Air be prevented from making characterization of defendants using Swift Air as “their personal ATM” to describe Saipan Air’s unsupported belief that defendants were siphoning funds away from Swift Air.
The lawyer said any statement that defendants used Swift Air as their “personal ATM” has no relevance to the remaining claims in this case and would serve no purpose other than to provide “shock value.”
White said the court should exclude testimony regarding Conry’s involvement with other airlines that entered bankruptcy because it would only result in unfair prejudice, confusion of the issues, and undue delay.
White said there is nothing fraudulent about being involved with a company that seeks the protections offered by the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.
In Saipan Air’s reponse to the motion, Saipan Air counsel Steven Pixley said the defendants involvement in other airlines that later filed for bankruptcy shows a pattern of their fraudulent scheme.
Pixley alleged, among other things, that Conry’s and Van Lier’s fraudulent scheme included the acquisition of Swift Air with a plan to ultimately file for bankruptcy after obtaining as much money from Saipan Air as they could obtain.
In its lawsuit, Saipan Air is seeking $2.5 million in compensatory damages and $10 million in punitive damages.