NFL Owners Sanctioned Thousands by Judge in Rams Case

A copy of the October 13, 2021 Order posted by St. Louis Circuit Court Judge Christopher McGraugh.

St. Louis Circuit Court Judge Christopher McGraugh on Wednesday, fined four NFL team owners for failing to comply with his July order to turn over financial information as part of a contentious lawsuit the City of St. Louis filed over the move by the Rams football team to Los Angeles.

The Court fined New York Giants owner John Mara $8,000, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones $6,000, and ordered Clark Hunt of the Kansas City Chiefs and Robert Kraft of the New England Patriots to pay $5,000 each. All four also were ordered to pay a total of $25,000 in fees to the plaintiff’s attorneys, according to the court order. 

“I don’t think your clients are acting with good intentions,” McGraugh told National Football League attorney Benjamin Razi during the hearing, according to Bloomberg.

The Plaintiffs are seeking the records to calculate punitive damages should their lawsuit challenging the Rams’ 2016 relocation to Los Angeles prove successful. Hunt, Jones, Kraft, Mara and former Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson were part of the NFL committee whichhandled relocation efforts at the time of the Rams move. 

The aforementioned owners had previously attempted to appeal the July order, arguing that the information requested was too broad and not relevant to the dispute about the move. Richardson and Rams owner Stan Kroenke had complied with the order, but he others made no effort to begin gathering the information and were dragging their feet, the judge said.

“This behavior cannot go on,” McGraugh said in open Court.

The judge gave the four owners he fined until December 3, 2021 to comply with his order to supply all relevant financial information. If they don’t, there will be a hearing to determine if they should be held in contempt of court. 

A trial is scheduled for January 10, 2022. Damage requests, per reports, could top $1 billion.