Nevada judge to decide if Las Vegas Sands case will proceed

Nevada judge to decide if Las Vegas Sands case will proceed

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LAS VEGAS (AP) — Casino billionaire and Republican Party donor Sheldon Adelson was calling the shots for Sands China Ltd. and he was doing so from Las Vegas, argued attorney Todd Bice in laying out the case for why his client's wrongful termination lawsuit should proceed in Nevada.

"Numero uno. There's no debate," Bice said of Adelson.

District Court Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez heard closing arguments Thursday morning from lawyers representing former Sands China Ltd. CEO Steven Jacobs and casino-hotel company Las Vegas Sands.

Adelson, 81, testified for four days, clashing with Jacobs' lawyers, lambasting Jacobs and insisting he had no day-to-day role overseeing the company's Macau operations. Bice said Thursday that the billionaire changed his story on the stand.

"Mr. Adelson will say whatever he thinks will help him," he said. "When his own executives contradict him, he doesn't know what they're talking about."

Filed nearly five years ago, the lawsuit has had numerous starts and stops, appeals to the state Supreme Court and spawned related cases including a defamation claim. Requests for documents proved especially challenging for Jacobs' lawyers with the company redacting many, an action that brought legal sanctions against it.

"They have cheated him out of his day in court long enough," Bice said in closing.

But before the wrongful termination claim can be heard, Nevada's Supreme Court required legal jurisdiction be established.

At issue for Gonzalez is whether the case can be tried in Nevada since Sands China's operations are based in the lucrative Asian gambling enclave of Macau.

Jacobs' attorneys argue Sands China business, including hiring and firing Jacobs, was conducted from Nevada by principals with Las Vegas Sands including Chairman and CEO Adelson and his No. 2, former Chief Operating Officer Michael Leven.

Bice called the company's efforts to show a clear divide between the Las Vegas Sands and Sands China "sleight of hand."

Defense attorneys say Sands China is separate and distinct and calls Macau home.

Using a presentation to show two houses — one in Macau and one in Las Vegas — Las Vegas Sands attorney Randall Jones virtually filled Sands China's Macau house with assets, bank accounts, employees, gambling operations, board meetings and more with much related to subsidiary Venetian Macau Ltd.

The only names sitting inside the Las Vegas house were Adelson and Leven, Jones said.

"The center of the universe for this company is in Macau," he said.

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