McAllister v.St. Louis Rams, LLC
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER..IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Arnold plaintiffs second motion to compel (#311) is DENIED without prejudice. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that defendants' motion for protective order (#313) is GRANTED.. Signed by District Judge Stephen N. Limbaugh, Jr on 2/14/18. (MRS)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
THE ST. LOUIS RAMS, LLC,
No. 4:16-CV-172 SNLJ
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
E. Stanley Kroenke is the owner of the Rams football team. In this consolidated
lawsuit against the Rams related to the team’s January 2016 decision to move to
California, one group of plaintiffs, led by Richard Arnold, sought to depose Mr. Kroenke
on December 21, 2017. In particular, the Arnold plaintiffs maintain they are entitled to
acquire season tickets for games played at the Rams’ current and future stadiums in Los
Angeles, California, pursuant to the “personal seat licenses,” or PSLs, sold by the Rams
during or following 1995.
The Rams objected to Mr. Kroenke’s deposition because depositions of senior or
“apex” level executives are sometimes brought for the purposes of harassment only.
Thus, a party seeking such a deposition must show “(1) the executive has unique or
special knowledge of the facts at issue, and (2) other less burdensome avenues for
obtaining the information sought have been exhausted.” Gladue v. Saint Francis Med.
Ctr., 1:13-CV-00186-CEJ, 2014 WL 7205153, at *1 (E.D. Mo. Dec. 17, 2014) (quoting
Ingersoll v. Farmland Foods, Inc., No. 10–6046–CV–SJ–FJG, 2011 WL 1131129, at *7
(W.D. Mo. Mar. 28, 2011)); see also Miscellaneous Docket Matter No. 1 v.
Miscellaneous Docket Matter No. 2, 197 F.3d 922 (8th Cir. 1999); Bank of the Ozarks v.
Capital Mortgage Corp., No. 4:12–MC–00021 KGB, 2012 WL 2930479, at *1 (E.D.
Ark. July 18, 2012).
Plaintiffs’ counsel explained to defense counsel that the deposition was being
noticed as a “marker” due to the then-pending discovery cutoff date. Plaintiffs’ counsel
explained also that they might not ever take Mr. Kroenke’s deposition and instead might
potentially obtain the information from other sources, including Rams COO Kevin
Demoff, and an entity known as “Legends.” However, plaintiffs contend that they
expected and invited defendants to file a motion for a protective order. The protective
order was not filed when plaintiffs believed it should have been filed, and thus plaintiffs
filed their motion to compel the deposition testimony of Mr. Kroenke. Plaintiffs also ask
for sanctions against defendants for Kroenke’s failure to appear at his deposition and the
defendants’ failure to seek a protective order regarding the deposition.
First, with respect to the timing of the protective order, the Court acknowledges
that the parties had numerous balls in the air at the time they were discussing the
depositions and related discovery issues. Numerous emails and phone calls took place
among counsel. Ultimately the Court finds that defendants did not unreasonably delay
the filing of their motion for protective order because there was some chance the
plaintiffs would not seek Kroenke’s deposition. Moreover, plaintiffs’ counsel explicitly
acknowledged his agreement to postpone Kroenke’s and other depositions until after the
With respect to the substance of the parties’ motions, plaintiffs maintain that they
still require Mr. Kroenke’s deposition because Mr. Demoff testified in his deposition that
he and Kroenke will decide the Los Angeles Rams PSL pricing scheme, and, if there is a
dispute between the two, Kroenke’s position will trump that of Demoff. Plaintiffs say
that Kroenke therefore has “unique knowledge” about the PSL pricing because Kroenke’s
opinion is the only one that matters. Plaintiffs also point out that Kroenke played a
prominent and outspoken role in moving the Rams from St. Louis to Los Angeles and
that “a jury should hear from him about his reasons for moving and judge their
credibility.” (#315 at 5.) Plaintiffs argue that they did their best to minimize impact on
Kroenke by noticing up his deposition after Demoff’s and two non-party witnesses.
The Rams counter that Demoff actually testified that decisions regarding pricing
had not yet been made and that no decisions would be made until sometime after the
2018 Superbowl (which occurred on February 4). The Rams also say that nothing in
Demoff’s deposition suggests that Kroenke “will ever have any information [that was]
not given to him by Demoff or Legends.” (#317 at 4.) Even though Kroenke will have
the final say regarding pricing, Demoff and Legends are apparently primarily responsible
for putting together the pricing information. Moreover, Legends’ representatives have
not yet been deposed. Thus, the Rams contend Kroenke currently has no relevant unique
information to share, and it is too early to tell whether Kroenke ever will have unique
information --- that is, information not otherwise available through Demoff or others in
the organization. The Rams do concede that “the only relevant event plaintiffs can
identify that would provide an arguable basis for Mr. Kroenke’s deposition --- a
disagreement with Legends and Mr. Demoff --- has yet to occur and there has been no
indication it ever will occur.” (#317 at 5.) If that disagreement should occur, the Rams
note that the plaintiffs could then seek an additional representative deposition on the topic
and determine then if there is additional information requiring deposition testimony from
The Court agrees that the plaintiffs have not at this time made a showing that they
require deposition testimony from the Rams’ owner. Pricing decisions have not yet been
made, so we do not yet know whether Kroenke’s opinion differs from Demoff’s or
Legends’. As for Kroenke’s role in moving the Rams to Los Angeles, the plaintiffs do
not explain how that is relevant to their case, which is predicated on written agreements
with which Kroenke played no role. No part of plaintiffs’ claims relates to why the Rams
moved, so there is no need for discovery on that issue.
The Court finds that plaintiffs have not supported their need for the deposition of
Kroenke’s “apex” deposition. Their motion to compel will be denied without prejudice.
Defendants’ motion for a protective order will be granted.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Arnold plaintiffs’ second motion to compel
(#311) is DENIED without prejudice.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that defendants’ motion for protective order
(#313) is GRANTED.
Dated this 14th day of February, 2018.
STEPHEN N. LIMBAUGH, JR.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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