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Arbitration To Be Heard Over Rams Move To Los Angeles

Months ago, the NFL dictated the Rams move to Los Angeles. A Missouri federal judge on Friday, however, ruled that the Rams NFL team can arbitrate a dispute with the St. Louis Regional Convention and Visitors Commission related to consolidated suits against the team over its move to Los Angeles that allegedly breached fans’ personal seat license agreements.

U.S. District Judge Stephen N. Limbaugh Jr. ruled that arbitration language in documents related to the Rams’ move to St. Louis in 1995 require the pair to settle their claims in arbitration according to current American Arbitration Association rules.

The CVC had argued that “existing” language in the arbitration provisions means the rules that existed at the time an overarching stadium lease was signed — not at the time that the arbitration demand is made — are controlling.

“There is no practical difference because the 1993 rules that were in effect when the lease was signed in 1995 state that ‘these rules and any amendment of them shall apply in the form obtaining at the time the demand for arbitration … is received by the AAA,’” Judge Limbaugh ruled. “Thus, even the 1993 rules require the use of the rules currently in existence.”

The Rams’ fight with the CVC is part of overarching proposed class action litigation against it brought by personal seat license holders who claim the team’s move to California last year made their licenses, which grant them season tickets, worthless and cost them thousands of dollars.

The Rams on Aug. 9 lobbed their bid to arbitrate the dispute with CVC, which the team contends must also indemnify it for claims arising out of the CVC’s operation, namely related to the personal seat licenses sold by its agent FANS Inc.

In an Aug. 25 response to the Rams’ motion, the CVC said the 1995 contracts that the Rams point to in support of their motion have since terminated.

The Rams are represented by Stephen H. Rovak, Roger Heidenreich, Elizabeth T. Ferrick and Amy E. Sestric of Dentons.

The Regional Convention & Visitors Commission is represented by Nicholas J. Lamb, David A. Dick and Shaun C. Broeker of Thompson Coburn LLP.

The named plaintiff McAllister is represented by Thomas P. Rosenfeld, Mark Goldenberg and Kevin P. Green of Goldenberg Heller & Antognoli PC; Anthony S. Bruning, Anthony S. Bruning Jr. and Ryan L. Bruning of The Bruning Law Firm LLC; and Richard S. Cornfeld.

The case is McAllister v. The St. Louis Rams LLC, case number 4:16-cv-00172, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri.

The above was first reported by Law360.

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