St. Louis plaintiffs file motion for sanctions against four different owners in Rams relocation litigation

NFL: FEB 05 Super Bowl 50 - Walter Payton Man of the Year Press Conference
Getty Images

St. Louis has a tiger by the tail. And they’re twisting it.

Via Daniel Wallach, the plaintiffs in the Rams relocation litigation have filed a motion for sanctions against four specific owners: Clark Hunt of the Chiefs, Jerry Jones of the Cowboys, John Mara of the Giants, and Robert Kraft of the Patriots.

The motion seeks a striking of the pleadings and other sanctions. In other words, the plaintiffs want a default judgment.

Without seeing the paperwork (surely, it will surface soon), it’s safe to assume that this arises from actual or perceived failure of those owners to comply with the discovery process. The most obvious failure to comply traces to the July order to provide personal financial information in anticipation of a potential award of punitive damages.

Although the trial court already has implemented a fine of $1,000 per day for failure to produce the financial data, other sanctions are available — such as a motion to strike the pleadings and essentially convert the eventual trial to an exercise in assessing the damages suffered by the St. Louis plaintiffs.

In a weird sort of way, this could be the strategy the NFL has opted to employ. If the plaintiffs want an exorbitant amount in settlement due in part to the reality that a trial in open court will consist of multiple owners getting the Colonel Nathan Jessup treatment before inevitably shouting “you’re goddamn right I did!,” the owners could simply take a dive on the issue of liability, making the trial only about damages and, in turn, making their testimony at trial irrelevant and moot.

Then, after the final judgment is entered by the trial court, the NFL can try to tie up the case for months if not years longer through various levels of appeals. Or, if the final verdict is, say, $100 million, Rams owner Stan Kroenke can write the check and they can all move on. (Kroenke reportedly has agreed to indemnify his business partners as to this litigation.)

It would be an unconventional approach, to be sure. But this gives the owners a way to protect their financial information and avoid testifying. If the NFL’ s lawyers believe they can push back aggressively and successfully against the calculations of financial harm arising from the fact that the Rams moved from St. Louis to L.A. twenty years after moving from L.A. to St. Louis, maybe the best move at this point is to lay down on the issue of liability, and fight on the question of damages.

Whatever the motivation and actual strategy, this case keeps getting bigger and bigger. Making the failure of certain major national media outlets to give it much attention even more glaring.

20 responses to “St. Louis plaintiffs file motion for sanctions against four different owners in Rams relocation litigation

  1. Those other teams just want more money (and LA LA Land is the 2nd largest media market and was without a team).

  2. They might get an ultimately meaningless sanction, but they are not getting a default judgment.

  3. No way the final judgement is going to be $100 million.

    The jurors are gonna absolutely hammer the league and owners.

    The NFL should really just go ahead and offer ST Louis an expansion franchise within five years and a couple hundred million towards a stadium and be done with it.

  4. You do realize that 1000 dollars a day is pocket change for these four gentleman!

    Unless they can be held in contempt of court, which I believe is not the case, they would much rather drag this thing in appeals for as long as they can if need be rather then make their financials public.

    Regarding the legal strategy no idea but if what is in the article is to the point it seems to me the layers for the city are being kind of dumb. The best way to get these gentleman to pony up is to make sure they hit the witness stand.

  5. I just want to say thank you to Florio for breaking this down. Generally, lawyering makes my eyes glaze over & puts me to sleep (like trying to watch a Lord of The Rings movie) – but I appreciate his perspective here.
    I do wonder how delaying lawsuits is legal though. It’s definitely unethical, and ethics and legality are two different things, but isn’t there something written about a speedy trial and such? Slow rolling and delaying lawsuits puts an extra burden on our court system.

  6. UnfunkyUFO says:
    October 2, 2021 at 5:06 pm
    I do wonder how delaying lawsuits is legal though. It’s definitely unethical, and ethics and legality are two different things, but isn’t there something written about a speedy trial and such? Slow rolling and delaying lawsuits puts an extra burden on our court system.
    ————

    First day in America?

    Regardless of who you are, the US Court system, generally speaking, can best be described as he who has the most money wins.

    Heck, that’s why the average guy or less loses in civil or criminal court. That’s why poor people almost always lose or plead out in court. That’s why the Feds usually always win- an unlimited budget. I don’t know if the NFL will win, but I bet they don’t lose.

  7. St Louis lost the Cardinals so, they stole the Rams! The Rams went back from whence they came! St. Louis is a baseball town! If they were a true football town, they wouldn’t have lost 2 teams!

  8. Some animals are more equal than others.
    The 1% don’t have to play by the same rules the rest of us do. They will never ever ever ever ever ever submit their financial information.

  9. St Louis was loyal to the Cardinals until owner Bid Bidwill said he was moving and stopped negotiating with St Louis but detailed how he was talking to Memphis one day, San Antonio the next, and Phoenix the day after. They’ve now played in Arizona longer in than in St Louis, and how many Super Bowls have they won? Even though the Rams are gone, the St Louis Rams went to two of them, and won one. Why did they leave LA and Orange County? Because they couldn’t get a stadium built. I remember watching the Rams play at the Angels ballpark, and Raiders at the Mausoleum. Both were pretty ugly venues. Stan Kroenke built the stadium in LA on his own dime.

    What I suspect St Louis is looking at is whether the NFL colluded with Kroenke, to put a couple of teams in the 2nd largest TV market in America. I would imagine there would be a financial incentive in that.

  10. This won’t cost the NFL a penny, they’ll pass it on to fans and claim “we’re getting more value” for the $1000 nose bleed seat and $100 per car parking

  11. Even if the fine was increased to 10,000 a day it would take over 27 YEARS of fines to reach the 100,000,000 million referenced that Kronkie would pay. So even if fines were increased 10 fold it would take longer than Brady has been playing by 6 years to reach that total. NFL to keep its financials private will HAPPILY pay that even if Kroenkie welched. Barring something unforeseen the owners have landed in a perfectly acceptable position, compared to the alternatives. From their point of view that is. IMO

  12. “The NFL should really just go ahead and offer ST Louis an expansion franchise within five years and a couple hundred million towards a stadium and be done with it.”

    I think you may be caught up in your own headlines a little.

    Stl should take what they can get. The lower the figure then the greater the chance the NFL actually pays. Go too high and the NFL will endlessly litigate making things so painful that eventually a lower settlement will be sought by Stl.

  13. First day in America?

    No @boozeygoose, it is not.

    I just wonder why we just accept blatant corruption and call “America”, that’s all.

  14. Desperation is the worst cologne. St. Louis should end this silliness, embrace who they really are, and host more tractor pulls.

  15. If I was the NFL I would not count on being able to appeal a damage judgement when you basically refused to have a trial on the situation. That is very risky! What happens if the appeals court refuses to hear your appeal and you are stuck with, let’s say a Billion Dollar figure.” What are you going to do? The Supreme Court already refused to hear the matter on arbitration vs trial and doubt they would hear it when you basically trying to snub your nose at the whole process!

  16. I subscribe to several hard news outlets and read a lot from the sports sites, too. PFT is the only one that is regularly covering this significant lawsuit with updates at the appropriate stages of the trial.

  17. Hi “johnnydlive”, check out Dan Lust on twitter. He and his team have been all over this, even more than Florio..

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.