Thursday, January 14, 2016

Class-Action Lawsuit Demands Rams Pay for Deceiving St. Louis Fans

Posted By on Thu, Jan 14, 2016 at 6:17 AM

click to enlarge The Rams may owe this kid some money — and a whole lot more kids like him. - PHOTO COURTESY OF FLICKR/JEN GALLARDO
  • Photo courtesy of Flickr/Jen Gallardo
  • The Rams may owe this kid some money — and a whole lot more kids like him.

That was fast.

Just one morning after the announcement that Stan Kroenke would be moving the Rams to Inglewood, spurning St. Louis' plan to build him a $1.1 billion stadium, a St. Louis lawyer filed a class-action lawsuit against the team and its owner.

The suit was filed yesterday in St. Louis City Circuit Court by attorney Steven J. Stolze of the Holland Law Firm. It purports to represent anyone who purchased a ticket to a Rams game, or Rams merchandise, from 2010 to 2015 — alleging they were deceived into supporting the team, in violation of state law. After all, Missouri's Merchandising Practices Act bars acts of deception, fraud, false pretense and misrepresentation in consumer transactions.

As the suit explains, "Pursuant to the MPA, any person who purchases merchandise for personal, family or household purposes, and suffers an ascertainable loss of money as a result of the use of unlawful acts in connection with such sale, may bring a civil action to recover actual and punitive damages from the person who committed the unlawful act."

In essence: If Kroenke lied about his intentions, and fans paid up as a result, Kroenke just may owe them — not only a refund, but money to punish him for his wrongdoing. That's Missouri law.

As evidence, the suit includes a long litany of possible such actions on the part of the owners — from Kroenke vowing he'd do his "damnedest" to keep the team in St. Louis (in a 2010 interview with the Post-Dispatch) to the team's COO writing on the Rams website "our goal is to build a winner in St. Louis not only in 2012, but in 2022, 2032 and beyond."

Even in February 2014, the suit notes, Kroenke told ESPN radio that he saw the Rams' future "right here in St. Louis." Yet as we now know, he was making much different plans behind the scenes, and had in fact already bought land in Inglewood, the suit says.

So. Is that flagrant enough misrepresentation that Kroenke owes everybody a check — and Steven J. Stolze some fat legal fees? Hard to say — but we sure wouldn't object if the judge ordered Kroenke to help us pay off what we owe on the Edward Jones Dome. Five million dollars a year might seem a whole lot cheaper when you're facing a fat class action suit from a passel of disgruntled football fans. Hey, those NFL tickets aren't cheap!

We welcome tips and feedback. Email the author at sarah.fenske@riverfronttimes.com


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