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Case Highlights

Economic Analysis of Irreparable Harm

Brattle consultants Michael Cragg and Lisa Cameron involved in favorable settlement for City of Chicago in dispute over O'Hare construction program.


O’Hare International Airport has long been recognized as one of the most congested airports in the United States. In 2005, the city of Chicago and United and American Airlines began a multi-billion dollar program to modernize and expand O’Hare in two phases. In January 2011, the airlines sought a preliminary injunction to prevent the City from issuing bonds to begin the second phase of the project, claiming that (i) the recent economic downturn had negated the need for expansion, and (ii) in proceeding, the City was violating lease agreements that gave airlines the authority to approve expenditures on capital projects.

Brattle's Role

Counsel for the city of Chicago retained The Brattle Group to assess the economic harms that could arise if the City were to continue with expansion plans at O’Hare. After an independent evaluation of the claims, Principal Dr. Michael Cragg opined that proceeding with the construction program would ultimately reduce delays, enhance services to the air traveling public, and provide a much-needed stimulative effect to the local economy. His economic analysis found that the effects of any project-related disruptions to the airlines’ business could be recompensed with readily estimable monetary damages. Dr. Cragg was assisted by principal Dr. Lisa Cameron in this fast-paced, highly-publicized case.


On March 14, 2011, the City reached a favorable settlement with the airlines that allowed construction to proceed as planned.