New effort to stop lawsuit over Rams leaving St. Louis

Missouri

ST. LOUIS – There’s a new effort from Rams owner, Stan Kroenke, and the NFL to stop the lawsuit over the team leaving St. Louis and moving back to Los Angeles in 2016.

Washington, D.C. attorney John Hall argued on the behalf of Kroenke and the NFL, Wednesday, asking St. Louis Circuit Court Judge, Christopher McGraugh, for a ‘summary judgment’ in their favor before the trial in January.   

The NFL’s relocation guidelines state that teams are “obligated to work diligently and in good faith” on stadium issues with their host cities.  

The lawsuit, filed in 2017, alleges Kroenke and the NFL failed to honor those guidelines, costing the St. Louis region hundreds of millions of dollars.    

The Rams and the NFL still encouraged St. Louis’ billion-dollar stadium proposal in 2015.   

Hall argued in court that it didn’t matter.    

He pointed to a 2013 arbitration ruling calling for a $700 million dollar renovation of the former Edward Jones dome, the Rams home stadium.   

He told the judge, “St. Louis could have protected itself (from losing the Rams) by complying with the arbitrator’s ruling … but they didn’t.”   

He argued that the NFL’s relocation guidelines were a decision-making tool for team owners as they consider whether to allow a fellow owner to move a team. They were not a legal “contract” between owners and host cities, he said.    

“It is not an enforceable promise,” he said repeatedly.  

Christopher Bauman, an attorney for the St. Louis City, St. Louis County, and St. Louis’s Regional Convention and Stadium Complex Authority (RSA) cited a deposition in the case from New York Giants owner, John Mara, in which he said, “the purpose of the guidelines is to create as much stability as we can and to keep clubs from moving.”  

Kroenke and the NFL have also applied for a change of venue in the case.  They want the trial moved out of St. Louis, arguing that they can’t get a fair trial here.   

The judge has not yet ruled on that matter.   

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