The Rams may have moved from St. Louis years ago, but a lawsuit over that move remains in that city.
The National Football League and the Los Angeles Rams on Tuesday lost their efforts to settle a January lawsuit over the lawsuit over the team’s relocation to a different place in Missouri rather than to the team’s former home, St. Louis.
A Missouri appeals court rejected the offer in a brief decision that did not address the reasons for the ruling. The NFL, Rams and other defendants had argued that the trial had to be moved because of the risk of bias against the league and the team of judges living in St. Louis.
The city, St. Louis County, and the Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority sued the NFL and the Rams in 2017, alleging that the league violated its own relocation policy and was negotiating in good faith to allow the Rams to move out of the city. 2016 to prevent .
The defendants in the lawsuit are Rams owner Kroenke Sports & Entertainment, the other 31 professional soccer teams and their owners.
The lawsuit is seeking damages of at least $1 billion.
The defendants attempted to move the trial from the St. Louis area by citing Rule 51.04, which allows a trial to be moved if there is favoritism due to pre-trial publicity.
According to the indictment, the city lost between $1.85 million and $3.5 million a year in entertainment and ticket tax collections, an additional $7.5 million in property taxes and $1.4 million in sales taxes, for a total of over $100 million in lost revenue.
Last month, the judge hearing the case fined four NFL owners about $44,000 for failing to submit financial documents in the case.
And with a trial scheduled for January, the suit appears to have caused friction among NFL owners. According to an ESPN article, Rams owner Stan Kroenke angered other owners last week by trying to shift responsibility for legal bills related to the lawsuit to other teams.
The Rams’ legal costs related to their move include a class-action lawsuit settled in 2018 for $24 million.
The Rams settled with fans who sued the team to top up the money for the personal seat license.
NFL teams charge the one-time fee that entitles fans to purchase season tickets and use the revenue toward stadium funding.
The ESPN report noted that Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones defended Kroenke at the NFL fall meeting in New York City. Jones is also named in the St. Louis lawsuit. It suggests Kroenke and Jones allegedly colluded “to develop a plan to move the Rams to Los Angeles and convince the other member teams to approve the move.”
The lawsuit also alleges that Kroenke and Jones discussed the current SoFi Stadium site in Inglewood, California, as early as 2013. And it claims Jones “deliberately interfered” with St. Louis’s “reasonable business expectation.”
Legends, a hospitality and marketing company co-owned by Jones, benefited from the Rams’ move. The company signed a contract with the Rams to sell sponsorships and helped land the stadium naming deal with SoFi in 2019. The deal is worth more than $30 million a year, according to Bloomberg.
Legends was founded in 2008 by the New York Yankees and Cowboys affiliate, Jones Concessions LP. The parties sold the majority of Legends to private equity firm Sixth Street last January. According to PitchBook, that deal was worth about $688 million and values Legends at $1.35 billion.
In addition to damages, the plaintiffs also demand a portion of the increased valuation associated with the Rams’ move. The Rams are valued at $4.8 billion, according to Forbes. That’s over $1.5 billion in 2015, the final season of the Rams in St. Louis.