ST. LOUIS — It's more likely than ever that St. Louis' lawsuit against the Los Angeles Rams and National Football League will be resolved via settlement or trial, experts say.
The case dates to 2017 and is scheduled for a January jury trial — if the NFL doesn't first succeed in getting it tossed. But its progression to late stages is raising questions about who would receive any damages, how much and how the money would be spent, including whether it could shore up the finances of the Dome at America's Center, the Rams' former home.
And it's highlighting an arrangement that dates to 2016, when the lawsuit was contemplated.
In short: If St. Louis prevails, its lawyers will win big, too.
The plaintiffs in the case are the St. Louis Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority (RSA), the public entity that owns the Dome and in 2015 and 2016 spent $18 million on a failed plan to keep the Rams in St. Louis with a Mississippi riverfront stadium, plus the city of St. Louis and St. Louis County. The RSA gets its funding from the city, county and state of Missouri.
The three plaintiffs are represented by two Clayton-based law firms: Blitz, Bardgett & Deutsch LC and Dowd Bennett LLP.
Four months before the suit was filed, the RSA's board on Dec. 7, 2016, voted unanimously to hire the firms. The pact, later duplicated by the other plaintiffs, calls for Blitz and Dowd to get 35% of any winnings. St. Louis is seeking $1 billion or more, an NFL attorney said in a court hearing last month, putting a potential takeaway for the plaintiffs' law firms at $350 million.
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