Rams Must Compensate Fans for St. Louis Personal Seat Licenses
On September 21, 2016, U.S. District Judge Stephen N. Limbaugh Jr. ruled that the Los Angeles Rams must compensate some St. Louis Rams personal seat license holders with either a refund or new season tickets. Three different parties have sued the Rams regarding the more than 46,000 people who bought PSLs prior to the team’s departure in January, but in July, the lawsuits were consolidated into one case, although they differ in the type of damages being sought.
The suit itself is quite convoluted, as two different PSL agreements are at issue. First, some fans bought their licenses through ticketing agent FANS Inc. when the Rams originally moved to St. Louis in 1995. Second, the Rams themselves began selling PSLs directly under the “Rams agreement.”
To further complicate matters, both agreements differ in their contract language. While the first agreement had a clause stating that the agreement was valid “only as long as NFL football is played at the stadium by the Rams[,]” the latter agreement had no such clause. Both contained a “best efforts” provision, and as such, while the Rams owe no season tickets to those who held tickets under the first agreement, the team owes anyone who purchased a PSL under the “Rams agreement” a “best effort” to provide the chance to purchase season tickets at the new stadium.
However, the plot thickens. Although both the FANS and Rams agreements state that a PSL holder cannot sue for damages regarding the PSLs, the Rams failed to raise this as an argument or even mention it in court. Additionally, in one of the lawsuits, the judge noted that the FANS agreement says the Rams may terminate the PSL contract for any reason and refund “part or all” of the PSL holder’s deposit. What serves as a “deposit” is not defined in the FANS contract, but the judge promised to determine the amount at a later date.