Lawyers for fired executive say Las Vegas Sands stalling termination lawsuit

Lawyers for former Sands China executive Steven Jacobs are resisting the latest efforts by Las Vegas Sands Corp. to remove the judge assigned to his wrongful termination lawsuit.

They argue that Las Vegas Sands and Sheldon Adelson, the company’s chairman and CEO, “are little more than litigation bullies who attempt to threaten and intimidate anyone who dares to oppose their tactics.”

Chief Clark County District Judge David Barker has indicated he will rule by today whether District Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez will remain on the case. In an opposition brief filed late Monday, lawyers for Jacobs argue that Las Vegas Sands has presented no new fact or law that permits reconsideration of Barker’s previous refusal to disqualify Gonzalez.

“No one is confused by LVSC’s goals,” they wrote. “It seeks more delay, and will say anything to sabotage the trial in this action.”

“The evidence of defendants’ misconduct is not open to serious debate,” the lawyers added. “They brand the judiciary as biased against them such that any adverse ruling cannot stem from their wrongdoing but must be the product of a faulty decision-maker. Unremarkably, logic dictates otherwise.”

Las Vegas Sands spokesman Ron Reese, in a Tuesday email message, defended the company’s efforts to remove Gonzalez. “We’ve moved to disqualify the judge in part because of favoritism benefiting Jacobs and his lawyers. It should come as no surprise to anyone that they would like to maintain that advantage.”

Barker on Jan. 29 denied a request by Las Vegas Sands to disqualify Gonzalez, who has presided over the case for the past five years. The chief judge said Las Vegas Sands had presented no evidence that Gonzalez “has actual bias or implied bias either in favor of or against any party to this action.” The Nevada Supreme Court previously denied requests to remove Gonzalez from the case, which is set for trial June 27.

Las Vegas Sands on Feb. 9 asked Barker to reconsider his ruling, calling his denial premature. Las Vegas Sands maintains Gonzalez’s “disparate treatment of the parties, disparate treatment of issues, and outright hostility to the defendants in this case” require her disqualification.

Jacobs, former president and CEO of Sands China Ltd., was the head of operations in China for about nine months before he was fired in July 2010.

The judge has submitted two recent declarations in which she has denied a bias toward or prejudice against Las Vegas Sands.

“Any assertion that a declaration from the judge is standard procedure is simply not accurate,” Reese wrote in his email. “The disqualification rules don’t call for an affidavit from the judge. Submitting one declaration is odd. Adding a second is highly unusual.”

Sands attorney Stephen Peek could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal is owned by the Adelson family.

Contact reporter Carri Geer Thevenot at or 702-384-8710. Find her on Twitter: @CarriGeer

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