St. Louis lawsuit against NFL, Rams likely heading to court

By Vincent Frank
Nov 30, 2014; St. Louis, MO, USA; General view of the NFL game between the Oakland Raiders and St. Louis Rams at Edward Jones Dome. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

As the Los Angeles Rams prepare to host their first home playoff game in Los Angeles since 1989, their former city is going full-steam ahead with suing both the franchise and the National Football League.

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, a judge overseeing the lawsuit against both the Rams and the NFL denied several motions from the defendants — setting into motion the likelihood that a drawn-out lawsuit will now go to court.

“St. Louis Circuit Court Judge Christopher McGraugh also denied motions to dismiss some 85 defendants, including all member teams and members of their ownership groups, for lack of jurisdiction,” the report read. “McGraugh also denied the Rams’ efforts to send the case to arbitration under the terms of the Dome lease between the team and the Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority.”

Back in April, the city of St. Louis filed a lawsuit against the NFL and its member teams claiming that “the NFL and each of its teams illegally approved relocation of the Rams to Los Angeles in January of 2016.” You can read more about that here.

Seen as a long shot suit in the past, it’s starting to gain more traction in the St. Louis area. The ruling by judge McGraugh only adds to this.

Though, it’s now increasingly possible that the NFL and its 32 teams will decide to settle with the plaintiffs as a way to avoid disclosing financial information to the public.

“The league and its members could now be forced to produce any number of private documents as part of the plaintiffs’ requests for discovery in the case, including communications and business information that would now be subject to public disclosure. That possibility could give the NFL and its teams incentive to settle with the regional public entities suing them.”

The suit itself claims that St. Louis has lost between $1.8 and $3.5 million annually in ticket tax revenue since the Rams relocated to Los Angeles. It also claims that the city has lost another $9 million in other tax revenue.

It will surely be interesting to see what comes of this. The NFL has proven in the past that it’s not afraid to go to court. But with discovery potentially set to release information the league might not want the public to see, a settlement could very well be in the works.