What should St. Louis interests hope to get out of NFL relocation lawsuit?


Decoraters wait for the St. Louis Rams Super Bowl banner to lower from the rafters of the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis on January 14, 2016. Signage is being removed from the former home of the St. Louis Rams after owner Stan Kroenke announced the team will return to Los Angeles for the 2016 season and will eventually play in a new stadium. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI

ST. LOUIS–The National Football League appears to have lost another round in a St. Louis courtroom Wednesday as procedural motions continue to come and go ahead of a trial that still isn’t expected to begin until at least January 2022.

Our news partners at the St. Louis Post Dispatch report that Circuit Court Judge Christopher McGraugh ruled that there is cause to seek financial records from a handful of NFL owners (Stan Kroenke, Clark Hunt, Jerry Jones, John Mara, Robert Kraft and Jerry Richardson), following a ruling earlier this summer.

Ben Frederickson at the Post says the league did get one win in that the field of defendants won’t be expanded beyond that in terms of owners. The financial risk for punitive damages will be restricted to those owners, plus the league itself.

With a trial at least five months away, we thought we’d ask a question. What’s the best, realistic outcome for St. Louis interests in all of this?

Everything should be on the table. The parties themselves haven’t specifically outlined yet how much they want in punitive damages, and how they would choose to spend that money.

In this very unscientific poll so far, almost fifty percent would prefer a settlement that included an expansion team, which means, after everything, there’s support for being in business with the same entity which has found ways to torture generations of St. Louis sports fans.

A verdict of +/- $1 billion or a settlement of north of $100 million would in theory set St. Louis up with funds at the very least to make a dent in the outstanding debt payments for the Dome at America’s Center, which currently sits at more than $312 million.

As easy as it is to dream about what could be done with hundreds of millions of dollars, you don’t need to be a high-priced attorney to know that you can’t take for granted what could happen in court. One needs only to look back at the antitrust lawsuit that the USFL won against the NFL in 1986. The USFL won the lawsuit but only got $3.76 before court costs.

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