An attorney for Las Vegas Sands Corp. testified that he didn’t tell the judge presiding over a lawsuit brought by the fired head of the casino operator’s Chinese unit about e-mails from Macau that had been reviewed in Las Vegas.
Justin Jones testified yesterday on the third and final day of a hearing over whether lawyers for Sheldon Adelson’s gaming company made misrepresentations or weren’t forthright last year with a Nevada state court judge about the presence of evidence from Macau that had been shipped to Las Vegas.
Jones was asked by a lawyer for the fired chief executive officer of Sands China Ltd., Steven Jacobs, what action he took when the parent company’s attorneys told the judge computer files sought by Jacobs as evidence in his breach-of-contract case couldn’t be transferred from Macau to Las Vegas.
“I did nothing,” said Jones, who’s no longer involved in the case.
The casino operators face possible court sanctions for failing to disclose to the judge they shipped computer files from Macau to Las Vegas as early as 2010, shortly after Jacobs was fired and had sued the companies. The company had argued that a privacy law in Macau prevented them from bringing data to the U.S.
Clark County District Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez said at the conclusion of the hearing yesterday that she will issue a written opinion by the beginning of next week.
Jones said he and other lawyers for Las Vegas Sands last year reviewed some of Jacobs’s e-mails before the company represented to the judge that documents in Macau had to be reviewed there by Sands China lawyers and cleared with local authorities prior to being produced as evidence for the lawsuit in Nevada.
“I don’t believe there were very many,” Jones said, referring to the Jacobs e-mails he reviewed.
Stephen Peek, another lawyer for Las Vegas Sands, testified Sept. 11 that he had disclosed to Jacobs’s previous lawyers last year that data from Macau was in Las Vegas. He said, under questioning from Todd Bice, one of Jacobs’s current lawyers, that he didn’t tell them what exactly the data was or that they included e-mails from Jacobs.
“I didn’t think it was my obligation to tell him what my work product was,” Peek said.
Bice told the judge Sept. 11 that Las Vegas Sands and Sands China were selectively invoking the Macau Personal Data Protection Act to prevent having to produce evidence from Macau requested by Jacobs while they themselves had been reviewing Jacobs’s e-mails. He also challenged Sands lawyers contention that they would have disclosed what they had if asked.
“Well, guess what,” Bice said. “We’ve asked them multiple times.”
Gonzalez said Sept. 11 “there are certain inconsistencies in the spin that was made to the court.”
She said her focus now was on possible misrepresentations made to her and that Jacobs’s lawyers may separately pursue claims that they were deceived.
Gonzalez said at a previous hearing that she wouldn’t send anybody to jail over the disclosure issue and that she was more likely to issue a monetary sanction than to preclude Sands from introducing the evidence in court.
Bice said a monetary sanction alone wouldn’t have an effect on Adelson, for whom writing a $1 million check would be only a “blip.”
“This was outright lying to the court and lying to us about the documents, and they knew it,” he he said.
Peek told the judge “this has been a very painful procedure for me.”
“I know from the court’s remarks that I have disappointed her,” he said.
Brad Brian, a lawyer for Sands China, said the lawyers and the company had been caught in a dilemma because of the Macau law.
“We do get it,” Brian told the judge. “This proceeding itself has created a stigma. To have lawyers testify is itself a sanction.”
The case was put on hold last year by the Nevada Supreme Court while Gonzalez resolves whether claims against Sands China belong in the state’s courts. Sands China, a majority-owned unit of Las Vegas Sands that is incorporated in the Cayman Islands, has said in court filings that it doesn’t do business in Nevada.
Jacobs contends that some of the evidence withheld by the parent company and its China unit shows that Nevada courts have jurisdiction over his case.
The case is Jacobs v. Las Vegas Sands, A627691-B, District Court, Clark County, Nevada (Las Vegas).