As the result of a Missouri Supreme Court decision, years worth of phone records for NFL owners and league officials must be turned over as part of a lawsuit over the St. Louis Rams relocation to Los Angeles.
When the Rams relocated from the St. Louis to Los Angeles in 2016, it prompted a flurry of lawsuits. Among those lawsuits is a legal challenge filed by St. Louis, St. Louis County, and the Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority–the owner of the Rams former home, The Dome at America’s Center. In that lawsuit against the NFL, Rams owner Stan Kroenke, and league’s 31 other teams, the plaintiffs are alleging fraud, breach of contract, interference in business by the Rams and the NFL, and illegal enrichment.
Specifically at issue is the more than $16 million that local entities spent on planning a proposed stadium for the Rams in St. Louis (rendering above), which plaintiffs said was spent because the NFL and Rams misled them about the franchise’s true intentions. In a setback to the NFL and the Rams, the Missouri Supreme Court last week dismissed an attempt to have a subpoena for cellphone records of owners and league officials blocked, effectively ordering four phone companies to turn over eight-years worth of records. More from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
In arguing against the subpoena, attorneys for the owners said there were no parameters on the request, meaning the records could show sensitive personal information including doctor appointments and other activities not related to the Rams case.
The court did not offer a reason for dismissing the league’s request.
The high court decision marks the latest legal setback for Rams owner Stan Kroenke, who earlier lost his request to move the lawsuit out of a courtroom and into a closed-door arbitration process.
“I’m glad we’re moving in the direction we’re moving,” said Jim Shrewsbury, chairman of the St. Louis Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority, which owns the domed downtown St. Louis football stadium.
Kroenke moved the Rams to Los Angeles as part of plans to construct a new stadium and surrounding development in Inglewood, with the franchise to be joined by the since relocated Los Angeles Chargers at that facility–SoFi Stadium–in 2020. Officials had mounted an effort to keep the Rams in St. Louis with plans for a new waterfront stadium, but neither the Rams nor the NFL were thrilled with the financial terms of that proposal and the franchise would argue in its relocation application that St. Louis was not a viable NFL market.
At issue in this lawsuit is whether the NFL and Rams misled the entities into spending the funds to plan the proposed St. Louis stadium, despite having no intention to keep the franchise in the market. The lawsuit is not aimed at reclaiming the Rams or landing another NFL franchise, but instead seeks monetary damages. A hearing on the case took place Monday, with another set for next month.
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