Nevada Supreme Court to hear LV Sands’ appeal of the Suen verdict

More than two years after a Clark County jury told Las Vegas Sands Corp. to pay a Hong Kong businessman nearly $60 million, the Nevada Supreme Court will weigh in on the case.

All seven justices will hear oral arguments on the civil lawsuit between Richard Suen and Las Vegas Sands on Sept. 2 at 10:30 a.m. in Carson City.

Suen sought compensation from Las Vegas Sands after he arranged a series of meetings in Beijing in July 2001 with company executives and members of the Chinese government. Suen contended the meetings paved the way for Las Vegas Sands to earn a lucrative gaming license in Macau.

In May 2008, a Clark County jury agreed with Suen. Following a six-week trial, jurors awarded Suen $43.8 million. Another $14.8 million in interest was tacked onto the verdict.

District Judge Michelle Leavitt denied motions brought by Las Vegas Sands to overturn the jurors’ decision.

The case was appealed to the Nevada Supreme Court in January 2009.

The trial in Clark County District Court included the daylong testimony of Las Vegas Sands Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Sheldon Adelson, who at the time was considered the third richest person in America.

Also, former Las Vegas Sands President Bill Weidner spent parts of six days testifying in the case.

The trial reveled the inner-workings of how Las Vegas Sands won a shared gaming concession in Macau and included the testimony of current and former Macau government officials.

Adelson and Weidner claimed Suen didn’t help the company win its license, but thought he was owed something for his effort, anywhere from $400,000 to a procurement contract that Adelson testified in deposition may have been worth up to $100 million.

The landscape of Las Vegas Sands has changed since the case was first tried.

The company avoided a bankruptcy by restructuring its debt, which forced Adelson to reduce his ownership stake by some 20 percent. However, the collapsing credit markets forced the company to halt construction of several projects on Macau’s Cotai Strip, which the company hopes to resume later this year.

Weidner was fired as president in March 2009 and replaced by Michael Leven.

Also, the legal team that handled the trial for Las Vegas Sands was dismissed and replaced with new lawyers for the appeal process.

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