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US Airways, American should not get merger papers: U.S. special master

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - US Airways and American Airlines should not get most of the key documents they requested from the government in a legal fight with the Justice Department about merging, a special master assisting the judge in the case said on Thursday.

The airlines had asked for materials that the government assembled as part of its research prior to a decision to challenge the merger on antitrust grounds. They also asked for internal Justice Department documents about previous airline deals. The Justice Department objected.

Special Master Richard Levie recommended that Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly reject most of the requests.

The Justice Department filed a lawsuit in August to stop the deal, saying it would lead to higher prices. Trial in the case is set to begin on November 25.

Some documents were "protected opinion work product" - essentially analyses done in anticipation of litigation, Levie said. Others were considered confidential because they include deliberations before decisions were made.

Levie did recommend that the judge order the department to turn over documents related to the approval of the 2008 merger between US Airways and America West.

The case at the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia is No. 1:13-cv-1236.

(Reporting by Diane Bartz, editing by Ros Krasny and Kenneth Barry)

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