In Las Vegas on 7 May 2015, Todd Bice argued that Sheldon Adelson who is a casino billionaire and major Republican Party donor was making decisions for Sands China Ltd and he was doing so from Las Vegas. Bice was outlining the case as to why a lawsuit for wrongful termination should in fact proceed from Nevada and not Macau.
District Court Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez listened to closing arguments Thursday from the lawyers representing the former CEO of Sands China Ltd, Steven Jacobs as well as from Las Vegas Sands lawyers.
Adelson who is 81 years of age testified for four days and often clashed with Jacobs’ lawyers as well as the judge at times. Adelson claimed that he had no daily role in overseeing the company’s Macau operations. On Thursday Bice argued that the billionaire changed his story on the stand.
The case began almost five years ago and has progressed to this hearing in fits and starts. It has created an additional defamation claim by Jacobs and has seen appeals to the state Supreme Court. A lower court judge had thrown out the defamation claim against Sands but the Nevada Supreme Court over-ruled that decision and allowed it to go forward.
Jacob’s lawyers had trouble getting documents in the discovery phase of the case. Sands, or Sands lawyers redacting many of them, which led to legal sanctions against the corporation.
However, before the case can be heard there is the matter of establishing Nevada’s legal jurisdiction. And that is why Sheldon Adelson has had to take the witness stand.
At issue is whether a Nevada court has jurisdiction over the matter or if it should be heard in a Macau venue as Sand China’s operations are in Macau, China.
Lawyers for Jacobs argued that much of the business of Sands China, including that of the hiring and firing of Jacobs, all happened from Nevada. The decisions in question were made by Chairman and CEO Adelson and Michael Leven, his former Chief Operating Officer, Bice argues.
However, the defense attorneys argue that Sands China’s “center of the universe” is Macau and seemed to imply that it should not matter if Adelson or Leven may have been in Las Vegas when decisions were made.
Closing arguments lasted about three hours on Thursday in the proceedings which began on April 20. Judge Gonzalez took the matter under advisement but did not indicate when a ruling might be delivered. If matters proceed as they have in other elements of the case, appeals may be expected regardless of her decision.