Leagues and Governing Bodies

St. Louis attorneys discuss successful settlement of relocation lawsuit against NFL

NFL's $790M settlement provided recompense to angry fans and officials in St. Louis and sent message to league and ownersGETTY IMAGES

Attorney Bob Blitz said that St. Louis winning a settlement in its lawsuit against the NFL establishes the city as a "town that took a stand against a behemoth," according to Joel Currier of the ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH. Blitz, one of the architects of the '17 lawsuit that alleged the NFL had broken its own relocation rules in moving the Rams to L.A., said, “The St. Louis region had basically gone into a lull of obscurity. [The settlement] put us back on the map in an incredibly positive manner. We just slew the dragon.” Lawyers for the city said that they "wanted to wait" until the $790M wire transfer came through before "discussing what they describe as a success story for the region." The money "came through just before Christmas," and is now "in a trust account until St. Louis-area leaders decide how to spend it." Co-Counsel Jim Bennett said, “Nobody knows what’s going to happen in a jury trial. I think the public officials who decided it was a good settlement had the best interests and their duties at heart of making sure that a bird in the hand was better than two in the bush.” Currier noted the plaintiffs’ strategy included "keeping the scope of the lawsuit focused." Bennett said that they "never had confidence in antitrust claims against the league" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 1/16).

SETTING THE PLAYBOOK: In St. Louis, Ben Frederickson wondered why the lawyers did not "push their clients to push for more," though pushing for an expansion team is "not a claim based in reality." Bennett said, “As lawyers, you have to keep in mind, what can you get out of a lawsuit, and what can’t you?” Frederickson noted other relocation-threatened cities "received a playbook" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 1/16).

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