The NFL has been taking repeated Ls in the St. Louis Rams relocation litigation. Finally, the league is eating a W.
Via Daniel Kaplan of TheAthletic.com, the presiding judge has disqualified attorney Bob Blitz from the plaintiffs’ trial team, given the intention of the NFL to potentially call Blitz as a witness at trial.
Blitz represented the St. Louis Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority in the events culminating in the departure of the Rams. Regardless of whether his knowledge of the communications has any significant bearing on the evidence or the outcome, judges typically prevent potential witnesses from serving as trial counsel. It creates ambiguity and potential confusion for the jury if the lawyer serves both as a source of evidence and as a party responsible for shaping the manner in which the jury regards that evidence.
It’s unclear whether this ruling throws a major wrench in the plaintiffs’ plans. Obviously, however, the fact that they opposed the motion to disqualify means that they wanted Blitz to proceed.
The only good news for the St. Louis plaintiffs is that an adverse ruling or two comes in handy in the event they lose at trial. The only drawback to winning every key decision along the way to a verdict is that, if the party ultimately gets a bad outcome, there may be no viable basis for trying to get the result overturned by a higher court on appeal.