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ESPN'S MORTENSEN SAYS NFL "NERVOUS" ABOUT ST. LOUIS SUIT
Published September 15, 1997
The NFL "is nervous and rightfully so," about the antitrust lawsuit filed by the St. Louis Business and Convention Bureau that is set to be heard in U.S. District Court on October 6, according to ESPN's Chris Mortensen. The lawsuit is over the $29M relocation fee that NFL charged the Rams to move from L.A., of which the Visitors and Convention Bureau was charged $20M. While the NFL has "made overtures" to Rams President John Shaw about settling, one St. Louis source said that "is a fruitless attempt because the Rams are not the litigant" and have "only filed a lien to collect against the NFL if a judgement is rendered in favor of St. Louis." One league owner told Mortensen that the NFL "is irate with Shaw because, in a deposition, he accused NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue of lying about circumstances regarding the Raiders' obligations on a move." Mortensen adds that the "league is not confident about the case" since St. Louis "has a distinct home-field advantage." While damages could be trebled, a court loss would also impact the NFL's relocation deals with the Ravens and Oilers. League sources say that Ravens Owner Art Modell "will be a witness for the league [h]owever there is an agreement that the Ravens' deal will be modified on the exact terms of any settlement with St. Louis" (ESPN SportsZone, 9/14).