The District Gives Final Approval to the Class Action Settlement in the St. Louis/St. Louis Rams PSL Litigation

Jul 19, 2019

By Jeff Birren, Senior Writer
When the then Los Angeles Rams moved from Orange County, California to St, Louis in 1995, personal seat licenses (PSLs”) were sold to fans in St. Louis for the right to annually purchase season tickets. Originally, the PSLs were sold by an entity called FANS, Inc. though somewhat later the Rams took over those sales. After the Rams announced that they were moving to back to Southern California, litigation naturally followed. St. Louis PSL holders who had paid hundreds if not thousands of dollars for the right to purchase season tickets in St. Louis filed much of the litigation.
These pages ran a three-part series that looked at the St. Louis PSL litigation. In the last installement, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, Eastern Division, had just given preliminary approval to the proposed settlement (Sports Litigation Alert, Volume 16, Issue #3, “Rams Settle Some of the St. Louis Litigation, Part 3,” February 14, 2019). That came on January 24, 2019. Recently the same court granted final approval to the settlement.
Specifically, five months to the day later, Judge Stephen N. Limbaugh, Jr. signed the Final Order and Judgment and Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Order pertaining to Attorneys’ Fees, Expenses and Incentive Awards in Ronald McAllister, et all, v. The St. Louis Rams, LLC, United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, Eastern Division, No. 1:16-CV-00172-SNLJ; 4:16-CV-00262; 4:16-CV-00297, Consolidated (“McAllister”), (“Final Order” Doc. #405; “Findings of Fact” Doc. #404), 6-24-19).
The Final Order turns the proposed settlement into a judgment. “Class members and the Rams shall be bound by the Settlement Agreement and releases contained therein, and this Order and Final Judgment, and Class Members do not have any further opportunity to out of this litigation” (Id. ¶ 6, at 2). Class members that did not file timely objections are “deemed to have waived any such objection,” but in fact, no “timely objections have been filed and the only untimely objection received has no merit and is thus denied” (Id. ¶ 7, at 3). An objection that is both untimely and without merit is unlikely to get relief on appeal, so this settlement is likely now final.
Consequently, all claims but one by a Richard Hellmer “who validly and timely requested exclusion from the Class” and the claims for indemnity by the Rams against the St. Louis Regional Convention and Visitors Commission (“CVC”) were “dismissed with prejudice” (Id. ¶8, at 3). The dispute between the Rams and the CVC over the responsibility for some of the required payments had previously been sent to arbitration, where it remains. The court kept “jurisdiction over implementation of the Settlement Agreement and all parties” (Id. ¶ 12, at 4).
The Findings of Fact spells out the payouts to class counsel and class representatives. The class counsel in the “FANS Class” and the “Rams Class” cases will each receive $3.6M. The FANS Class counsel will also receive $64,695.81 for expenses. Rams Class counsel will receive $135,304.19 for expenses. Plaintiffs Ronald McAllister and Richard Arnold will each receive $20,000; plaintiff R. McNeely Cochran will receive $7,000; and plaintiff Brad Pearlman will receive $3,000. These payments will come directly from the Rams “and will not come out of the funds to be received by Class Members” (Id. ¶ 1, at 1.) Not included in either the Final Order or the the Findings of Fact, but contained in the proposed settlement previously filed with the Court, is that the Rams will pay $12M each to the FANS Class and Rams Class (McAllister, Motion for Approval at 22).
The Court also determined that the Settlement Agreement sets forth reasonable procedures and deadlines for payment” (Id. ¶ 2, at 1); that the request for attorney fees was “fair and reasonable” and that both the fees and incentive awards to class members were all authorized by federal law, (Id. at ¶ ¶ 3, 4, 5, at 2). The Court concluded by stating that the payments were to be made “pursuant to the procedures and deadlines set forth in the Settlement Agreement” (Id. #4, at 3). 2019 is going to be a very good year for some in St. Louis.
Birren is an adjunct professor at Southwestern University School of Law and former general counsel of the Oakland Raiders.


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