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After $1 American Airlines antitrust win, O'Melveny wants $139 million in legal fees

June 26 (Reuters) - Law firm O'Melveny & Myers has asked a Manhattan federal judge to award more than $139 million in legal fees to American Airlines after its $1 trial victory in a case accusing flight booking company Sabre of anticompetitive practices.

O'Melveny attorneys said in a filing on Friday that the court win last year "was the culmination of a risky, hard-fought, decade-long battle." Neither side appealed the verdict.

The amount O'Melveny is seeking pertains to more than a decade of litigation for then-client US Airways, which merged with American Airlines in 2013.

American Airlines had sought more than $1 billion in damages in its suit accusing Sabre of harming competition in the flight-booking market and charging excessive fees.

Sabre and its lawyers at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom have denied the allegations.

Earlier this month, Sabre lost its bid to block O'Melveny from seeking any fees at all. Sabre had argued American Airlines was not entitled to millions of dollars in legal fees after winning $1 in nominal damages.

The amount American Airlines' lawyers are seeking was revealed for the first time publicly in Friday's court filing.

Sabre is the country's largest owner and operator of a network that travel agents use to search and book flights listed by the airlines.

A spokesperson for Southlake, Texas-based Sabre on Monday declined to comment.

A spokesperson for Fort Worth, Texas-based American Airlines referred to its filings and declined to otherwise comment.

Sabre is expected to argue that American Airlines did not win on all of its claims and therefore should not be awarded all of its legal fees since 2011.

In its filing, American Airlines' lawyers said the lawsuit's claims were "inextricably intertwined." The attorneys also defended the reasonableness of their hourly rates.

The trial last year was the second in the litigation.

American Airlines in December 2016 won about $15.3 million at trial where claims over damages were restricted. A subsequent appeals court decision opened a door to the second trial, where American Airlines argued for lost profit and other damages.

O'Melveny, which employs some 800 lawyers, last year recorded revenue of more than $1 billion for the first time, according to legal industry publication The American Lawyer.

The case is US Airways Inc v. Sabre Holdings Corp, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, No 1:11-cv-02725-LGS.

For plaintiff: Andrew Frackman of O'Melveny & Myers, and Paul Yetter of Yetter Coleman

For defendant: Boris Bershteyn and Steven Sunshine of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.

This article originally appeared on Reuters

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