St. Louis Rams and PSL Owners Reach $24 Million Settlement of Class Actions

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December 6, 2018

Rams to fully refund to PSL owners the unused portion (nine years) remaining on 30-year PSL contracts following Rams’ departure to Los Angeles

Goldenberg Heller & Antognoli is pleased to announce a settlement of its class action against the former St. Louis Rams that will fully compensate tens of thousands of individuals who purchased 30-year personal seat licenses (PSLs), which were cut short when the Rams relocated to Los Angeles in 2016. 

The settlement, which remains subject to formal review and approval by the United States District Court, provides for a refund to each PSL owner of 30% of the PSL price, equal to the unused 9 years remaining on the PSLs when the Rams moved to Los Angeles following the 2015 season.

“This settlement provides a substantial benefit that matches the relief we sought in the lawsuit,” said Kevin Green, attorney with Goldenberg Heller.  “After nearly three years of litigation, and with the help of a skilled mediator, the Honorable William Ray Price, we were able to work with the Rams and their attorneys to resolve the case in a way that fully reimburses the unused portion of the PSL fee to these loyal fans.”

The Court appointed Mark Goldenberg, Thomas Rosenfeld and Kevin Green of Goldenberg Heller, along with attorneys from The Bruning Law Firm, LLC, and the Law Office of Richard S. Cornfeld as Class Counsel for the FANS Class, comprised of the original PSL purchasers.

On behalf of McAllister, Goldenberg Heller took the lead in:

  • developing the legal theory on which the case was ultimately settled;
  • obtaining federal jurisdiction, making the McAllister case the lead case in 3 consolidated class actions;
  • propounding written discovery to the Rams and third parties and reviewing, with co-counsel, tens of thousands of documents and data produced by the Rams and third parties;
  • defending the Rams’ deposition of McAllister’s expert witness; and
  • conducting the depositions of Rams’ executives, including two depositions of the Rams’ Chief Operating Officer, Kevin Demoff.

Following the Court’s grant of class certification, Goldenberg Heller participated in mediation with Rams counsel, reaching agreement on key terms, and took the lead over the next four months in negotiating and drafting the 35-page settlement agreement with the Rams counsel, a copy of which was filed with the Court on December 5, 2018 and is now subject to approval by the Court. 

“It gives our entire legal team tremendous satisfaction that we were able to bring full compensation to PSL owners through this class action,” said attorney Tom Rosenfeld of Goldenberg Heller.

Background

Original PSL contracts entitled owners to purchase season tickets through 2024.  PSL contracts were sold by an entity called “FANS, Inc.” until April 1996, when the Rams started selling them directly.  The PSLs were sold for $250, $500, $1,000, $2,500, $3,000, and $4,500 each, depending on the location of the seat.  In 2016, when the Rams left for Los Angeles, they did not provide PSL owners a refund for the unused 9 years remaining on the PSLs or the right to use the PSLs in Los Angeles.

The case began in February 2016, when Ronald McAllister filed a class action lawsuit asserting that the Rams breached the contract governing the PSLs.  He argued that the contract governing the PSLs sold by FANS, Inc. required the Rams to refund a portion of the PSL purchase price after their move to Los Angeles.  For original PSL owners who bought PSLs when the Rams first came to St. Louis, he sought a 30-percent refund based on the nine unused years remaining on the 30-year term.

In 2018, the court appointed McAllister as a class representative on behalf of all original purchasers of PSLs – those who purchased their PSL before April 1996, and who had not transferred or upgraded the PSL or received a cancellation notice from the Rams by the end of the 2015 season (known as the FANS Class).

Separate lawsuits were brought by individuals who purchased PSLs through the Rams beginning in April 1996. They argued that the contracts governing the PSLs sold by the Rams did not terminate with the Rams’ move to Los Angeles, and that the Rams breached the contract by failing to use their “best efforts” to ensure PSL holders the right to purchase tickets wherever the Rams played their home games. These PSL owners (known as the Rams Class) are also part of the settlement.

The Settlement Benefits

The amount available for each PSL is indicated in the following chart:

PSL Tier Price
Pay-Out for Each PSL
$250
$75
$500
$150
$1,000
$300
$2,500
$750
$3,000
$900
$4,500
$1,350

If the Rams’ payout for the total number of qualifying claims exceeds $24,000,000 (divided evenly among the FANS Class and Rams Class), the amount paid may be reduced on a pro rata basis.

Next Steps

Goldenberg Heller and the other Class Counsel for the PSL holders have filed a motion asking the court to preliminarily approve the settlement. If the court does so, it will require a third-party claims administrator to send notice to all class members about the terms of the settlement, as well as create a settlement website with information about how to file a claim. Class members will be able to file a claim by mail or online at the settlement website and the court will set a deadline for filing claims. In addition, the settlement agreement will provide a process to verify the claim and the amount owed.

The settlement website will be www.RamsPSLClassActionSettlement.com.  Please note, the website will not be live until after the Court preliminarily approves the settlement.  A timeline of key events in the settlement process is below:

Action Date
The Motion for Preliminary Approval is filed
December 5, 2018
The Court may conduct a Preliminary Approval Hearing to determine preliminarily whether the settlement appears fair, reasonable and adequate, and notice of the settlement should be sent to all Class members
To be determined by the Court
The Court issues its Preliminary Approval Order
To be determined by the Court
The Settlement Website goes live at www.ramspslclassactionsettlement.com
10 days after the Court issues its Preliminary Approval Order
E-mail and Postcard Notice of the Settlement is sent out to Class members and PSL owners can begin filing claims
21 days after the Court issues its Preliminary Approval Order
The first of 3 consecutive weekly Publication Notices is printed in the Sunday edition of the St. Louis Post Dispatch
Within 21 days of the Court’s Preliminary Approval Order
Deadline for Class members to opt-out of the Settlement or object to its terms
75 days after the Court issues its Preliminary Approval Order
The Court conducts a Final Approval Hearing to rule on objections to the settlement and determine whether the settlement should be approved as fair and reasonable
120 days after the Court issues its Preliminary Approval Order
Deadline to file a claim
60 days after the Final Approval Hearing
The Court issues its Final Approval Order
To be determined by the Court
The “Effective Date” of the Settlement Agreement
30 days after the Court issues its Final Approval Order
or
The day any appeals by objectors are dismissed
The Claims Administrator provides counsel a list of all claims qualifying for payment
160 days after the Court issues its Final Approval Order
Payment of Qualifying Claims
Within 30 days of delivery of the list of all qualifying claims (if no appeals by objectors are filed)
or
Within 30 days after the Effective Date (if appeals are filed by objectors)

For more information, see the articles in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the LA Times. If you are a PSL owner, please watch for updates as the settlement moves through the court-approval process.

The attorneys at Goldenberg Heller & Antognoli, P.C. have extensive experience representing plaintiffs and defendants in complex class action litigation across the country.  Please contact us today at (800) 782-8492.
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Kevin Green