Unless there’s a settlement over the next several weeks, the NFL — along with Los Angeles Rams owner Stan Kroenke — face a jury trial that could lead to hundreds of millions of dollars in damages over the Rams’ 2016 move from St. Louis.
On Sept. 13, a judge denied a bid by the defendants to dismiss the case ahead of the Jan. 10, 2022 trial date. A pre-trial hearing is scheduled for Friday.
Sports attorney Daniel Wallach told Front Office Sports that the judge denying summary judgment will likely serve as the “come-to-Jesus moment” for the NFL, making a settlement with the plaintiffs much more likely.
A $1 billion figure could be a “starting point” for the plaintiffs to settle ahead of the trial, Wallach said.
St. Louis, St. Louis County, and the St. Louis Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority filed the lawsuit in 2017.
Wallach warned of major damages if a St. Louis jury finds Kroenke and the NFL liable for breach of contract and unjust enrichment:
- The Rams’ increased in value from $1.45 billion in 2015 to its current valuation of $4.8 billion, according to Forbes.
- The plaintiffs claim the city, county, and state have lost more than $100 million in hotel, property tax, sales tax, and ticket tax revenues since the Rams left town.
If the judge allows the jury to consider the valuation increase along with the $550 million relocation fee, punitive damages — which multiply damages as a deterrent – could surpass $10 billion.