JEFFERSON CITY — The former St. Louis Rams, relocated and renamed the Los Angeles Rams, chalked up a victory over St. Louis-area interests on Nov. 21, with the Missouri Supreme Court ruling that the franchise's lease dispute with the Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority should be settled through arbitration.
In a unanimous ruling, the court quashed a preliminary writ of mandamus sought by the authority so that it could proceed with its petition for declaratory judgment on the docket of St. Louis County Circuit Judge Michael Burton.
The dispute involves the lease of the team’s training facility in Earth City and a petition for declaratory judgment the authority filed seeking to void provisions of the lease that gave the Rams an option to purchase the facility for $1.
The Rams sought to compel arbitration, claiming that the lease agreement with the authority calls for arbitration when disputes arise.
The authority filed a motion to stay arbitration, arguing the lease does not require arbitration of the declaratory judgment action, relying on an attorney fee provision in the lease authorizing fees for a party seeking relief in a “proceeding to … declare rights” under the lease and subsequently obtaining a “judgment,” the ruling states.
“The authority also noted other lease provisions referring to the right of a party ‘to institute suit,’ the right of a party to obtain ‘cumulative … remedies at law or in equity, and ‘litigation between the Parties concerning this Lease.’”
But Burton ruled in favor of the Rams' motion to compel arbitration. He also overruled the authority's motion to stay arbitration and dismissed its claims.
After Burton's ruling, the authority petitioned for a writ of mandamus in the court of appeals. After the appeals court issued a preliminary writ and made the writ permanent, the Supreme Court transferred the case, and in its ruling, quashed the appeals court’s preliminary writ.