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The American Lawyer Names Aimee Brown “Litigator of the Week” for Spirit Airlines Appellate Win

Litigation associate Aimee Brown was named “Litigator of the Week” by The American Lawyer for her May 21 victory on behalf of Spirit Airlines in a high-stakes appeal over the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)’s allocation of peak-period flight authorizations at Newark Liberty airport.

In her first federal appellate argument, Aimee successfully challenged the FAA’s decision to retire certain peak-period flight authorizations. She argued that it violated the Administrative Procedure Act and failed to address the competitive effects of bolstering United Airlines’ already dominant share of authorized slots at its primary hub, potentially driving up prices for Newark passengers without making a substantial dent in congestion at the busy airport.

In a Q&A with The American Lawyer, Aimee noted that Spirit has long been looking to increase its presence at Newark, and the flight authorizations represented a rare opportunity for Spirit to do so. Competition concerns were shared by the DOJ and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. “Having both agencies behind the key points that we were making—that competition was an important problem that the FAA needed to address—made it clear that Spirit’s arguments are not just those of a jilted competitor,” Aimee said.

Aimee prepared for her argument from her kitchen table at home, but came into the Paul, Weiss offices for the actual argument, where she had the full support of her mentor, litigation partner Kannon Shanmugam. “The office itself was pretty empty. I was alone in a conference room on one floor, while Kannon was in his office on the floor above listening in. Kannon sent me a string of text messages of support during the hearing, which was wonderful,” she said.

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