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Settlement near final in Rams relocation lawsuit saga

11/24/2021 2:28:00 PM
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A monetary settlement is nearing completion in the Rams relocation lawsuit, a source with direct knowledge of the negotiations told Joel Currier of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch late Tuesday night.

The figure of the settlement was not disclosed.

Lawyers representing Rams owner Stan Kroenke and the NFL were in St. Louis on Tuesday for a mediation session with lawyers representing the city, county and the Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority to discuss settlement possibilities. A source said lawyers were working late Tuesday night to inform all NFL owners of the deal.

Negotiations went on for hours Tuesday at a Clayton law firm as attempts to strike a deal were continued in advance of two important dates.  

The first was a contempt of court hearing that would decide if multiple influential NFL owners had satisfied Circuit Court Judge Christopher McGraugh’s request to hand over detailed financial information for the pursuit of potential punitive damages against certain owners.

The second was the start of a January trial that would ask a St. Louis jury to decide if Kroenke, his fellow owners and the NFL broke Missouri law by violating the league’s relocation guidelines during the 2016 relocation of the Rams from St. Louis to Los Angeles.

The city, county and dome authority filed the civil suit against Kroenke, the Rams, the league and its owners in 2017, alleging the league broke its own relocation rules that were established decades ago to avoid antitrust liability. The suit alleged breach of contract, fraud illegal enrichment and interference in business by the Rams and the NFL, citing significant financial loss, including but not limited to the $18 million the region spent on a task force that came up with a proposal to keep the Rams in a new riverfront stadium before Kroenke spent billions of his own money on a new stadium in Inglewood, Calif.

Pressure built on the league to reach a settlement in recent weeks as Kroenke frustrated his fellow NFL owners by expressing interest in revisiting the terms of the indemnification agreement he signed before the move. Kroenke reportedly threatened his fellow owners to settle his side of the case individually if he did not get help from them in handling the financial toll of a settlement. The decision to settle represents an about-face from the league after it downplayed the legitimacy of the lawsuit from the start.

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