Adelson, Sands ordered to pay $1 million after case dismissed

Sheldon Adelson, chairman of the Las Vegas Sands Corp., and his gaming company have been ordered to pay an estimated $1 million in fees and court costs after a judge in England dismissed a defamation lawsuit brought by the Las Vegas billionaire against a labor union.

Adelson and his company’s request for an appeal of the judge’s ruling was also denied, the UNITE HERE union said in a statement.

A Las Vegas Sands representative vowed to continue the legal fight.

“The fact remains that the unions engaged in a campaign to smear the name of Sheldon Adelson and Las Vegas Sands and using the legal remedies we still have before us, we will continue to defend Mr. Adelson and the company from such tactics,” a company spokesman said in a statement Monday.

Adelson and Las Vegas Sands have until Oct. 28 to file a formal request for an appeal with the Court of Appeal, but in the United Kingdom appeals are at the discretion of the judge.

The High Court of Justice, Queen’s Bench Division, in London on Friday granted UNITE HERE’s application for dismissal of the claims against the group, which is affiliated with unions in Las Vegas, and Debbie Anderson, its director of international affairs.

The lawsuit was filed after a 2004 meeting in England where UNITE HERE and Labour Party officials heard a presentation about and discussed the Sands’ business operations and unsuccessful litigation against the Culinary Local 226 and Bartenders Local 165 in Las Vegas.

The meeting was held as Adelson was preparing to bankroll a Glasgow Rangers plan to build a casino around the soccer team’s stadium, according to a Nov. 3, 2004, report by The Herald in Glasgow, Scotland. UNITE HERE opposed the venture.

It’s unclear what Adelson considered defamatory in the presentation and discussion.

While Adelson and the Sands sued UNITE HERE in 2004, the case languished with no activity after March 2008, the labor group said in a statement.

In March, Adelson’s lawyers informed the court that he wanted to bring the case to trial, but UNITE HERE requested dismissal, calling the case an abuse of process due partly to Adelson’s “lack of real interest in pursuing it in light of the long delays in bringing it and prosecuting it,” the union said in a statement Monday.

The court agreed, concluding that “Adelson ceased in March 2008 to have the intention of prosecuting the action to trial.”

The court also decided that “what is now at stake in this action does not justify the deployment of (the court’s) resources,” and ordered the plaintiffs to pay costs estimated by UNITE HERE to be about $1 million, the union said in its statement.

Contact reporter Chris Sieroty at
csieroty@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893.

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