Louis Sues the Rams and NFL Over Relocation

Scott W. Grau  Icon Sportswire

Scott W. Grau Icon Sportswire

The suit accuses the NFL and the Rams of violating the league's relocation policies put in place in 1984 to avoid antitrust liability for any future franchise relocations.

National Football League spokesman Brian McCarthy said there was "no legitimate basis" for the lawsuit. The suit claims the Rams and owner Stan Kroenke "made false statements regarding the team's intent to engage in good faith negotiations" with St. Louis. It says the city also has lost about $7.5 million in property tax and $1.4 million in sales tax revenue, plus "millions" in earning taxes.

The city and other plaintiffs in a statement claim the NFL, the most popular USA sports league, failed to follow its own guidelines for franchise relocation even as it induced the city to spend "considerable time and money to generate a compelling new stadium development".

Ironically, that out clause was negotiated into the original lease as part of the deal to lure the Rams from Los Angeles to St. Louis. The relocation guidelines, according to the lawsuit, "bind the NFL, NFL team owners, and NFL teams to follow certain procedures before allowing them to relocate".

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The city of St. Louis doesn't believe that the league acted in good faith, especially since the city ended up approving a stadium plan in December 2015. At the time, the city said that the state would pay for the rest of the stadium. We could see two more of them filed locally in those respective cities following the relocation of the Chargers to L.A.in 2016 and the recent approval of the Raiders moving to Las Vegas, perhaps as soon as 2019.

The suit alleges the Rams failed to meet league relocation rules when leaving for Los Angeles before last season, constituting a contractual breach with St. Louis. "The City of St. Louis will have lost over $100 million in net proceeds due to the improper conduct described above".

The lawsuit is among several filed over the Rams' departure.

The Rams finished 4-12 in their first season back in Los Angeles and haven't had a winning record in any season since 2003. The sports complex authority spent more than $17 million during efforts to build a new stadium for the Rams.

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