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Lawsuits & Litigation

San Diego Attorneys File Lawsuit Against NFL, Chargers After L.A. Relocation

— January 26, 2022

The lawsuit alleges that the Chargers and their owners did not make a “good faith effort” to keep the team in San Diego, despite promises to try.

Two former San Diego city attorneys have filed a lawsuit against the NFL, alleging that the league violated its own policies when it let the Chargers relocate to Los Angeles in 2017.

According to FOX News, the lawsuit was filed by former San Diego City Attorney Michael Aguirre and former Chief Deputy City Attorney Maria Severson on behalf of San Diego resident Ruth Henricks. In their lawsuit, the lawyers accuse the NFL and Chargers officials of “failing to negotiate in good faith” to keep the team based in San Diego.

The lawsuit suggests that, even as San Diego maintained negotiations, Chargers owner Dean Spanos decided as early as 2006 that he wanted to relocate the team to Los Angeles.

“The Chargers’ statements suggesting that the Chargers […] [were] looking for a way to stay in San Diego in and after 2006 were false,” Severson wrote in the lawsuit. “Chargers Football owner Dean Spanos had already made up his mind to move the team to Los Angeles, according to former Chargers Football’s chief operating officer.”

However, as CBS8 reports, Spanos had told Chargers fans as early as 1996 that the Chargers would remain in San Diego unless the franchise suffered “severe financial hardship.” But when Spanos decided to move the team to Los Angeles, the Chargers were allegedly worth in excess of $1 billion.

A football. Image via Flickr/user:Joe H. ( (CCA-BY-2.0).

Now, attorneys say that both the NFL and the Chargers breached the league’s relocation policy by failing to negotiate “in good faith” with city officials about what could be done to keep the team in San Diego.

San Diego, says the lawsuit, spent a “substantial” amount of “public funds” drawing up plans to either renovate the Chargers’ existing stadium or create a new one. But the Chargers never “[met] with the community nor the city in any meaningful way.”

While San Diego is not party to the lawsuit, Mayor Todd Gloria and current City Attorney Mara Elliott issued a joint statement in support of the complaint.

“Suing the National Football League is a costly and uphill battle, as Mr. Aguirre himself has stated in interviews, and his lawsuit on behalf of taxpayers is at its earliest stage,” they said. “Given that city taxpayers would be the recipient of any damages and restitution the court may award if litigation prevails, we wish Mr. Aguirre success in his effort.”

As has reported before, St. Louis recently secured a $790 million settlement relating to the Rams’ relocation to Los Angeles.

However, Gloria and Elliott said that San Diego is not in a position to officially make or support a similar complaint.


Lawsuit filed against NFL, Chargers over team’s move to Los Angeles

NFL sued over Chargers’ relocation from San Diego

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