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USSC to rule on judgment against Air Wisconsin in removal of pilot from plane

WASHINGTON D.C. (WTAQ) - The U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether a $1.25 million judgment should stand against Air Wisconsin.

Veteran pilot William Hoeper won a defamation lawsuit against Air Wisconsin in his home state of Colorado.

Court records said his job as a pilot was in jeopardy, after he failed four times to get approval to fly a new aircraft, and had angry words with another employee in Virginia.

Soon after that, Hoeper was a passenger on a United flight back home – but the plane was returned to its departure gate after Air Wisconsin identified Hoeper as a potential threat. He was removed, but never charged in court with anything criminal.

Air Wisconsin unsuccessfully argued that Hoeper’s defamation suit should have been dropped, because the airline has immunity for reporting security threats in the wake of 9-11.

The Colorado Supreme Court said Air Wisconsin was not exempted from legal action.

The Obama administration was among those asking for the U.S. Supreme Court to consider the case – and to reverse the Colorado ruling.