The Missouri Supreme Court has ruled that a lawsuit filed over the Rams’ departure from St. Louis will be heard in a St. Louis courtroom, a defeat for the NFL team’s owner who sought to send the case to arbitration.
The court issued its ruling this week in a lawsuit filed by St. Louis city and county and the St. Louis Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority, which owns the domed stadium where the Rams formerly played. It named Rams owner Stan Kroenke, who moved the team to Los Angeles for the 2016 season, the NFL and league owners.
It wasn’t immediately clear if an appeal was planned. Messages left Wednesday with the Rams, Kroenke’s attorney and the NFL were not immediately returned.
The lawsuit alleged that the Rams’ departure violated a 1984 league guideline that was established after the Raiders moved from Oakland to Los Angeles. The league, the Rams and Kroenke have argued that the disagreements should be settled behind closed doors in arbitration.
The suit seeks financial damages, but a win for the city, county and dome authority would not return the team to St. Louis.
The Rams’ departure left a bitter taste in St. Louis, which lost an NFL team for the second time in 30 years — the Cardinals moved to Arizona in 1987.
Last month, a judge gave preliminary approval to the settlement of a separate suit filed on behalf of fans who bought St. Louis Rams tickets and team merchandise. The settlement could be worth up to $25 million. The lawsuit claimed fans would not have purchased the tickets and goods if they knew about the impending move.
The Rams scored a victory in yet another suit. An April ruling determined that an option in the lease for the now-vacant training facility in St. Louis County gives the Rams the option to buy it for just $1. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that the facility is worth at least $12.7 million.