The Missouri Supreme Court has rejected attempts by five NFL team owners and one former owner to avoid turning over financial information as part of a lawsuit St. Louis filed seeking damages for the move by the Rams football team to Los Angeles.
The ruling Wednesday means owners Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys, Clark Hunt of the Kansas City Chiefs, Stanley Kroenke of the Rams, Robert Kraft of the New England Patriots and John Mara of the New York Giants, along with former Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, have until Sept. 28 to turn over the information.
If they don’t, they’ll face fines of $1,000 a day, according to an order earlier this month by St. Louis Circuit Court Judge Christopher McGraugh.
St. Louis, along with the county and the city’s convention authority, want the records to calculate punitive damages should their breach-of-contract suit over the Rams 2016 relocation to Los Angeles prove successful.
A trial is scheduled for Jan. 10. Damage requests could top $1 billion.
Attorneys for Kroenke said in a filing with the Missouri high court that McGraugh’s order would require the Rams owner to turn over records that “are not part of this case as well as federal income tax returns, which he filed jointly with his wife, who is not part of this case.”
Kroenke’s attorneys said requiring that information to be disclosed would result in “actual and potential damages to these third-parties’ privacy interests.”
Kroenke made a splash in North Texas in 2016 when he bought the famed Waggoner Ranch, a 535,000-acre property considered to be the largest U.S. ranch contained within a single fence. It made Kroenke one of the largest landowners in the nation.
Jones, Hunt, Kraft, Mara and Richardson were part of the NFL committee that handled relocation efforts at the time of the Rams move.
Their attorneys told the Supreme Court that “after years of discovery” the plaintiffs offered no evidence that these owners “engaged in any behavior that could possibly give rise to tort liability.”
The court rejected the requests without comment. Attorneys for the owners and the NFL could not be reached for comment.
The case is St. Louis Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority v. National Football League, 1722-CC0976, Circuit Court of St. Louis City, Missouri, Twenty-Second Judicial District (St. Louis).