Should It Stay or Should It Go: L.A. Rams Oppose Fans’ Motion to Remand Lawsuit to State Court
The venue battle continues in a fans-versus-team class action lawsuit filed back in January 2016. The lawsuit was filed by [presumably former] fans of the Rams NFL team, claiming that the team’s owner and another top executive mislead Missouri fans who purchased game tickets, team merchandise, and concessions upon the belief that the team would remain in St. Louis, Missouri, where it had been since 1995, all in violation of the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act. It was brought in St. Louis Circuit Court on behalf of Missouri state residents who made the aforementioned purchases between April of 2010 and January 4, 2016 when the Rams filed to relocate the team.
In early February, the Rams removed the case to Missouri federal court on diversity grounds, claiming that the amount in controversy exceeded $5,000,000, far greater than the $75,000 minimum requirement for diversity jurisdiction; that the Rams owner, Stan Kroenke, was a Wyoming resident; that another one of the named entities in the suit was based in Colorado; and that the proposed class would include fans now living in different states, having since moved out of Missouri.
The plaintiffs are now seeking to have the case remanded back to state court. Part of the basis for this, claim the plaintiffs, is that the Rams need to and have thus far failed to put forth specific evidence that members of the proposed class have in fact left Missouri. In their opposition, the Rams dispute this, claiming there is no such “specific evidence” requirement. Despite this, the Rams assert that they have obtained statements from two individuals who fall within the proposed class — having attended Rams games during the class period while living in Missouri — and have since moved out of state. The Rams also claim that plaintiffs improperly based their bid for remand upon the amended complaint instead of the original.
Although the Rams’ move is a done deal, it remains to be seen which side this class action lawsuit will play out in favor of.