Lawyers for the city of St. Louis and the National Football League must be salivating at the thought of billable hours after St. Louis, St. Louis County and the St. Louis Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority filed suit against the NFL over Stan Kroenke’s move of his football team, the Rams, to the Los Angeles market following the completion of the Rams-St. Louis lease in 2015.
The heart of the suit seems to be this. “The Rams, the NFL, through its member teams, and the owners have violated the obligations and standards governing team re-locations.”
There are five areas of contention that St. Louis lawyers have identified as basis of the suit. Breach of contract (against all defendants). Unjust enrichment (against all defendants). Fraudulent misrepresentation (against the Rams and team owner Stan Kroenke). Fraudulent misrepresentation (against all defendants). Interference with business expectancy (against all defendants except the Rams). The NFL has a little experience with scorned cities.
In 1995, Cleveland filed a lawsuit to force Browns owner Art Modell to honor his lease after he announced that he was moving his team to Baltimore. Modell had a lease through 1998. A restraining order temporarily blocked Modell from leaving. A trial date was set for February 12, 1996 but the NFL and the city settled and the league expanded into Cleveland for the 1999 season. Cleveland built a new stadium for the NFL. The NFL usually doesn’t fare well in court cases. The lawyers will make some big money here, that’s the only guarantee in this case.
By Evan Weiner For The Politics Of Sports Business
This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, Evan Weiner.