St. Louis, NFL square off in court as league files 3 motions to -

St. Louis, NFL square off in court as league files 3 motions to cut down suit

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ST. LOUIS ( -- The Rams and the City of St. Louis are squaring off in court, and Friday was both parties went before the judge to present in the first hearing of the city’s lawsuit against the NFL.

Judge Christopher McGraugh heard all the arguments from a team of attorneys on both sides, including lawyers from Chicago and Washington hired by the NFL

The league spent much of the hearing trying to convince McGraugh to throw out the case.  

"If you look at what the guidelines really are they are just that, they're guidelines," said NFL attorney Benjamin Razi, stating the NFL's relocation policy is not legally binding.

The St. Louis Convention and Sports Complex Authority is suing saying the league violated that policy when the Rams left St. Louis for Los Angeles, and contend the NFL and its owners committed fraud. That claim hangs on the argument the league was planning a Rams move as far back as 2012, four years before Rams owner Stan Kroenke pulled out of the city.

"They participated in the vote, the teams participated in the vote, by the time they did it they knew that everything their commissioner in power had said wasn't true, they knew what their co-association members Mr. Kroenke and his vice president had said wasn't true and of course they accepted the benefits of it, they all took the money," said James Bennett, an attorney for the city.

Attorneys for the league are also tried two other motions with the judge, trying to get arbitration and trying to trim down the list of those being sued.

"That's every NFL club, every controlling owner, many of the non controlling owners, all of the executive committee of the publicly-owned Green Bay Packers,” Said NFL attorney John Hall. “All of them defendants in this case. 85 of them are bringing this motion to dismiss on lack of jurisdiction."

The lawsuit is asking for unspecified damages, but the amount could be well into the tens of millions of dollars.

The new stadium effort cost the city nearly $17 million, and that would be added to punitive damages and lost revenues after the team’s departure.

Judge McGraugh is expected to have a ruling by the end of 2017.

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