Sheldon Adelson and his lawyer obstructed an Oct. 6 sworn deposition in a bitterly contested civil lawsuit against the billionaire casino owner, U.S. Magistrate Judge Bill Hoffman ruled Monday.
Hoffman concluded that attorney Don Campbell, who is suing Adelson, had properly cut short the videotaped deposition when faced with “Rambo litigation tactics” from the defense. Campbell had spent less than 20 minutes trying to get Adelson to answer questions before calling off the deposition out of frustration.
Hoffman ordered Adelson and his co-defendant companies to pay the costs of the deposition, including Campbell’s legal fees, and the costs of retaking the deposition within 21 days.
“The court finds that Adelson’s refusal to answer questions based upon his counsel’s continuous suggestive, argumentative and unnecessary objections improperly impeded and frustrated fair examination of Adelson during the deposition,” Hoffman said in a 23-page order.
Campbell filed a DVD of the shortened deposition to give Hoffman a first-hand look at the tactics employed by the defense. In a copy of the DVD obtained by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Adelson’s lawyer, Patrick Hicks, appeared to badger and put Campbell on the defensive while he was asking Adelson routine questions important to the lawsuit.
“It is inappropriate to interrogate opposing counsel during the course of a deposition,” Hoffman said in his order. “Additionally, defense counsel made no effort to advise his client of his obligation to answer the questions which were asked.” Hicks could not be reached for comment Monday.
Several times during the deposition, Adelson refused to answer questions, saying they were irrelevant.
Campbell is suing Adelson to recover more than $100,000 in overtime on behalf of former Adelson driver Kwame Luangisa. Hoffman said “acrimony” between both sides in this case has “steadily increased” since the lawsuit was filed.
Adelson and Hicks have the option of appealing Hoffman’s order to Chief U.S. District Judge Robert Clive Jones, who is overseeing the lawsuit.