Upset Rams Fans Sue Team Over Move to LA
Just one day after the NFL met and approved the relocation of the St. Louis Rams to Inglewood, California, four fans brought a proposed class action against Rams owner, Stan Kroenke, and Rams Chief Operating Officer, Kevin Demoff, alleging that the two made misleading statements that caused fans to continue to spend money on team apparel and tickets believing that the team was staying in St. Louis.
On January 12, 2015, NFL owners met in Houston and approved a plan to move the St. Louis Rams to Inglewood, California — a city just a few miles south of downtown Los Angeles. Although the approved Inglewood stadium is not expected to be finished until at least 2018, the Rams will begin the 2016 season at the Los Angeles Coliseum. Obviously, Rams fans in St. Louis must be upset that the team was unable to work out a deal for a new stadium, forcing them to move out of the city. Four fans in particular — James Pudlowski, Louis C. Cross III, Gail Henry and Steve Henry — decided to bring suit over the move.
The four named plaintiffs filed a proposed class action in St. Louis Circuit Court on Wednesday, claiming team owner, Stan Kroenke, and Chief Operating Officer, Kevin Demoff, made misleading statements that the team would be staying in St. Louis and fans relied on those statements when continuing to spend money on tickets, apparel, and concessions. The fans pointed to statements made by Kroenke dating back as far as April of 2010, when he told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that it isn’t “our desire to ever lead the charge out of St. Louis.”
The action is grounded on a violation of the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act, which prohibits misrepresentations and false promises in the sale of merchandise. The fans allege that the organization made such false statements, leading fans to purchase team merchandise believing that the Rams would remain in St. Louis when in fact the team intended on relocating. The fans allege that Kroenke started his mission to acquire the Inglewood site back in 2013 and failed to disclose his intention to move the team even after acquiring the future stadium site.
The suit argues that the named plaintiffs and class members “have suffered a loss equal to the cost of the tickets and/or merchandise purchased from defendants during the applicable time period”, which includes any time after April of 2010, when Kroenke allegedly began making “misleading” statements and January 4, 2016, when the team filed to relocate.
The proposed class of members may include any state resident who purchased team merchandise for personal, family or household use between April of 2010 and January 4, 2016. As such, the class can potentially grow to include tens of thousands of Missouri residents.