For all the body blows the NFL took during the St. Louis relocation litigation, the NFL keeps delivering uppercuts in Oakland.
Via Daniel Kaplan of TheAthletic.com, the NFL secured another victory in the two-track legal process arising from the latest decision by the Raiders to leave Oakland.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has affirmed the dismissal of the federal antitrust lawsuit filed in connection with the move of the team from Oakland to Las Vegas. The next step, if the plaintiffs take it, will be to file a petition with the United States Supreme Court, which takes a small percentage of the cases submitted to it every year.
Also pending is a state-court lawsuit based on a breach of contract claim similar to the contention made by St. Louis that the NFL violated its relocation guidelines. The California court rejected the argument; the ruling has been appealed. As Kaplan describes it, the decision from the California Superior Court “reads as if it came from NFL talking points.”
It remains to be seen whether appeals in the California state court system will make a difference.
On one hand, the struggles in Oakland suggest that St. Louis was wise to take what it could while it could. On the other hand, the success that St. Louis enjoyed supports the notion that it shouldn’t have settled the case, instead forcing the NFL to take its reckoning.