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Angry Rams Fans Keep Class Suit Over NFL Team Move in State Court

Feb. 13, 2018, 6:37 PM

The Rams must face class claims by fans who feel betrayed by the team’s move from St. Louis to Los Angeles in state court, a federal court said Feb. 12.

More than two-thirds of the ticket holders are Missouri citizens, Judge Stephen N. Limbaugh Jr. wrote for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri.

An exception to the Class Action Fairness Act ensures that cases that uniquely affect a particular locality remain in state court.

James Pudlowski and other fans say they bought licensing rights to buy St. Louis Rams season tickets through the 2014 season.

After the 2016 announcement that the team would move to Los Angeles, the fans filed a class action in Missouri state court alleging the team and the owner made false promises that they would fight to keep the team in St. Louis.

The team didn’t reimburse them for the costs of licensing rights for the years after the team moved, they said.

The Rams removed the suit to federal court under CAFA. The fans argued CAFA’s local controversy exception applies to keep the suit in state court.

The local controversy exception requires that federal courts decline jurisdiction when more than two-thirds of the putative class members are citizens of the state in which the action was filed.

The federal court accepted the evidence of plaintiffs’ expert Dr. Charles Cowan, whose random sample of potential class members found 87 percent were Missouri citizens.

Goldenberg Heller PC, Holland Law Firm, and others represented the plaintiffs. Dentons US LLP represented the Rams.

The case is McAllister v. St. Louis Rams, LLC, 2018 BL 46672, E.D. Mo., No. 16-172, 2/12/18.

To contact the reporter on this story: Perry Cooper in Washington at pcooper@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steven Patrick at spatrick@bloomberglaw.com

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