ST. LOUIS — The three governmental plaintiffs in St. Louis' Rams litigation must negotiate over how to split proceeds from the case's $790 million settlement.
St. Louis, St. Louis County and the public entity that owns the Dome at America's Center, the Rams' home before the team moved to Los Angeles in 2016, last week agreed to settle the case, filed in 2017 against the Rams and National Football League. Two law firms that worked for the plaintiffs on contingency are to receive 35% of the settlement, plus certain costs, making unclear right now exactly how much the governments will receive. Spokespeople for St. Louis city government didn't immediately respond to questions about whether the law firms had submitted totals for those costs, which can include photocopies, filing fees and other expenses.
Asked for record of a pre-existing agreement between the plaintiffs on how to split any proceeds, a St. Louis County spokesman said none exists. "The three sides are working on a legal agreement to split the funds," said the spokesman, Doug Moore. He added that such an agreement could be reached within "a couple weeks"; the NFL is to make payment on the settlement by Christmas Eve.
It isn't unusual that the plaintiffs didn't previously agree how to split an award, said John Ammann, professor at the Saint Louis University School of Law.
"A lot of these things you don't necessarily think about when you are getting your ducks in a row for filing the lawsuit," Ammann said. "It's not something that had to be determined at the time."
He said it's likely St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones and St. Louis County Executive Sam Page, plus the Dome entity, called the Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority (RSA), will be able to reach an agreement, citing an ongoing political alliance between Jones and Page. He also said it's unlikely the legislative bodies of the city and county — the Board of Aldermen and the County Council — would be involved in such a negotiation, citing the ability of Jones and Page to settle the lawsuit themselves.
Ammann said if an agreement between the governments can't be reached easily, mediation or even arbitration could be entered.
In a worst-case scenario — which is also most unlikely — the governments could sue one another over the proceeds, said Garrett Broshuis, an attorney at Korein Tillery's local office who's followed the case.
Read the full story on the St. Louis Business Journal website.