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St. Louis plaintiffs file notice to take sworn depositions of Stan Kroenke, Clark Hunt

Rams owner Stan Kroenke is trying to back out of footing the bill for the NFL's legal issues with St. Louis, which Mike Florio sees as a pathway for the league to give the city a new expansion team.

With the Rams relocation litigation moving to trial, the period for conducting discovery has ended. That makes recent developments a little confusing, on the surface.

According to Daniel Wallach, the St. Louis plaintiffs have filed formal notices to take the depositions of Rams owner Stan Kroenke and Chiefs owner Clark Hunt.

Nothing prevents a party from filing the notice of deposition. If the NFL wants to block the deposition, it must file a motion for a protective order with the presiding judge.

Usually, a witness may be deposed only once in a given case, for discovery purposes. The league will be inclined to resist this effort, if it can.

Sometimes, the trial testimony of a given witness is taken before trial, with the testimony recorded and played for the jury. It’s hard to imagine the St. Louis plaintiffs agreeing to proceed in this manner when it comes to key witnesses like owners, particularly Kroenke.

Another explanation could be that testimony is needed to understand fully and completely the financial information disclosed by Kroenke and Hunt, based on the finding that they could be responsible for punitive damages.

It’s also possible that Seth Wickersham’s recent fly-on-the-wall reporting from the ownership meeting in New York has sparked the renewed interest in questioning Kroenke, given than he reportedly intends to not honor his promise to cover the full costs of the litigation. On the surface, that issue has no obvious relevance to the Rams relocation case. To the extent, however, that the St. Louis plaintiffs can prove that Kroenke has engaged in a pattern of broken promises, the fact that he’s breaking promises to his partners could be relevant to the claim that he defrauded St. Louis.

The new Playmakers podcast takes a close look at the St. Louis litigation. You can hear it by preordering the book and registering.