A Las Vegas jury has awarded Hong Kong businessman Richard Suen a $70 million verdict in his lawsuit against casino operator Las Vegas Sands Corp.
Suen, who first filed his suit in Clark County District in 2004, claimed that he played a critical role in helping Sands win permission to operate casinos in Macau by arranging meetings for Sands chairman and chief executive officer Sheldon Adelson with Chinese government officials. For his assistance, Suen said he was promised $5 million and two percent of the net profits of any casinos the company established in the Chinese territory.
Since then, Macau has become Sands’ biggest market, accounting for over 60 percent of the company’s revenue. But the company never paid Suen a dime.
Sands had argued that Suen’s efforts had ultimately not helped it launch its four Macau casinos. The company initially partnered with Hong Kong’s Galaxy Entertainment to successfully apply for gaming licenses in Macau. After the partnership broke up, Sands was allowed to operate as a subconcessionaire.
Adelson, who owns roughly half of Sands’ shares and whose wealth is estimated at over $25 billion testified in the case for three days last month. The billionaire said that Suen’s contribution to Sands’ success in Macau had been “zero” and gave credit to his own previous experience and business acumen.
The eight-person jury took two days to reach its verdict on Tuesday.
Suen originally asked for $328 million in damages. He was awarded $58.3 million in 2008 but that judgment was later reversed by the Nevada Supreme Court on the grounds that hearsay evidence had been improperly introduced at trial.
Partner John O’Malley of the Los Angeles office of Fulbright & Jaworski led the team representing Suen. Fulbright of counsel Jeffrey Dykes and Las Vegas lawyers James Pisanelli and Todd Bice of Pisanelli & Bice also advised the plaintiff on the case.
Sands’ legal team was led by Las Vegas partner Stephen Peek of Denver-based Holland & Hart and Richard Sauber, a partner with Washington, D.C.’s Robbins, Russell, Englert, Orseck, Untereiner & Sauber.
Sands has said the company plans to appeal the verdict.
Email: jseah@alm.com .