ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - A deal has been struck between St. Louis and the NFL to avoid a public trial over the lawsuit filed in 2017 after the Los Angeles Rams left St. Louis.
St. Louis City, County, and the Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority signed a $790 million settlement agreement with Rams owner Stan Kroenke and the NFL on Wednesday. An expansion NFL team is not included in the deal.
It comes on the day after both sides negotiated through a mediator.
The settlement avoids not only a public trial that was scheduled for January in a St. Louis courtroom. But it also prevents a contempt of court hearing after multiple NFL owners, including Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys and Robert Kraft of the New England Patriots, refused to hand over detailed financial information as ordered by the judge.
It's unclear at this time if Kroenke, who signed an indemnification agreement with the NFL and all its owners, will have to pay the entire $790 million settlement or if the bill will be split with the NFL.
Although there have been reports that St. Louis could be awarded upwards of $2 billion in damages by a local jury, one reason for agreeing to a settlement would be avoiding a drawn-out appeals process. Which would give the NFL and Kroenke a chance to once again squirm away from St. Louis' grip.
St. Louis, St. Louis County, and the St. Louis Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority first filed this lawsuit in 2017, claiming Kroenke and the NFL ripped the team from St. Louis in violation of the league’s relocation guidelines. The suit was originally thought to net St. Louis about $18 million at best, but recently some believed – including an LA Times report – that the winnings could have actually reached $4 billion.
Representation for the Rams and the NFL tried to get the trial moved out of St. Louis, claiming they wouldn't get a fair trial. They went all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States, but failed at every step.
Kroenke is reportedly causing some division among NFL owners as he may not be holding up his end of the bargain.
The estimated $10 billion man signed an indemnification agreement with the NFL and all its owners when he convinced them of relocating the Rams to Los Angeles. The deal meant that he would pay for essentially all legal fees, settlement or punitive damages if anyone was sued over the move.
But now, Kroenke is challenging that agreement.
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