Thursday December 7, 2023

San Diego Attorney Preps Lawsuit Over Chargers’ Move to L.A.

  • Former San Diego city attorney Michael Aguirre said he will file a lawsuit over the Chargers' move to LA should the city fail to act.
  • The attorney sees a promising precedent in the $790 million settlement between the NFL and the city of St. Louis.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports/Design: Alex Brooks
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The NFL has already dealt with one lawsuit regarding a team moving to Los Angeles, and soon it may have another.

Former San Diego city attorney Michael Aguirre said he will sue the league on Friday over the Chargers’ move to Los Angeles should the city of San Diego fail to take up the cause. The Chargers played in San Diego from 1961 to 2016 before moving north to L.A.

  • Aguirre cited the NFL’s $790 million settlement awarded to the city of St. Louis over the departure of the Los Angeles Rams, agreed to in November.
  • San Diego mayor Todd Gloria said that the city waived its rights to pursue a claim against the team and the league after the 2008 NFL season. California has a four-year statute of limitations on claims arising from a breach of written contracts.

Sunk Costs

Aguirre’s argument seems to center on whether the NFL and team negotiated in good faith with the city on use of public funds for the team’s benefit.

“The team owners and the NFL forced the city of San Diego to spend over $92 million for stadium expansion and renovation in 1997, plus $68 million in bond interest rate costs,” Aguirre wrote in an op-ed for The San Diego Union-Tribune.

“Under the infamous ticket guarantee, the city had to spend $36.4 million to buy unsold game tickets.”

The attorney, now a partner at a private law firm, noted that an NFL executive stated that Chargers owner Dean Spanos had plans to move the team as far back as 2006. Spanos is being sued by two of his nephews for allegedly diverting money from the family trust that owns the team.

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