Updated: Jul 21, 2022
Apart from the San Diego lawsuit, there may be some controversy in St. Louis about their settlement with the NFL. Dan Wallach, co-host of “Conduct Detrimental,” made an interesting discovery regarding St. Louis’ city attorney. The city attorney is a former equity partner at the Dowd Bennett LLP law firm. The Dowd Bennett law firm was one of the two firms that represented the plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the NFL. Less than two months before she became St. Louis’ city attorney, the firm still considered her a partner.
In attorney fees, the Dowd Bennett firm received a figure that reached nine figures, approximately $125 million they received from their work and involvement as the plaintiffs’ co-attorneys. This is an interesting discovery because the public may wonder why the plaintiffs settled when the dollar amount could have reached billions, and this may be a link to it, or this could be a plain coincidence. Trial would have started January 10th, and now that the Rams are participating in Super Bowl LVI at SOFI Stadium, Kroenke’s gem, this litigation would have put the football world on notice to St. Louis rather than all attention to Inglewood, California. Mayor Jones said she did not agree to a settlement, but her statement could be taken out of context.
The client has the ultimate say in their case, but the attorneys could have advised her to take the money now rather than litigate it against the NFL in a court of law where nothing was certain. I find it hard to believe she had influence over Mayor Jones’ and County Executive Page’s decision to settle the lawsuit. The money is guaranteed, and there is no pending litigation. They do not have to pay any more attorney fees, and they guaranteed St. Louis with over $500 million for public funding. The attorneys, on a thirty-five percent contingent fee, took in over $200 million for their respective firms. Over six long and grueling years of litigation are over for St. Louis. They can forget about the NFL, as most St. Louisans have after the Rams left on that grim day in 2016, January 12th to be exact.
St. Louis does not need the NFL. They have the Cardinals and are considered a “baseball town.” They rally behind their sports teams, the Cardinals, the NHL’s Blues, and the MLS’ St. Louis City, who begin play in 2023. The NFL is a bygone for the city, and they are hoping they receive the Battlehawks again once Dwayne Johnson rejuvenates the Xtreme Football League (XFL). They despise Stan Kroenke and Kevin Demoff, akin to Mr. Burns and Waylon Smithers from The Simpsons, but it has been six years since the Rams left town. If it was not for Kroenke partnering with then Rams owner Georgia Frontierre, the Rams never would have left Los Angeles for St. Louis. Kroenke cares about the money, not the cities or people he “hurts” in the process. The NFL is a business, and it stands for “Not For Long” for markets to keep their teams if the owners do not get their way. I’m still rooting for whichever team plays the Rams, but it is not the players fault or Sean McVay’s fault they left St. Louis.
It is Stan Kroenke’s pursuit for money that caused the Rams to leave St. Louis, and he played the league like a fiddle, with the alleged help from Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. Roger Goodell may have played a part, but the NFL wanted Los Angeles, and Kroenke was one of the few owners who had the pockets to get them there. I hope this is addressed in greater detail prior to Super Bowl LVI. St. Louis has not discussed what they plan to do with the settlement money, and who had the final say to accept the NFL’s settlement offer. Thank you to Dan Wallach for his deep dive into the settled St. Louis lawsuit.
Alex Patterson is a 3L at Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, Michigan. He played football for seventeen years as an offensive and defensive lineman. He graduated from Lindenwood University-Belleville in 2018 with a Bachelor's in Sports Management. He can be followed on Twitter @alpatt71