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Ed Vogel

Nevada Supreme Court: Sands info can stay confidential

28 February 2014

CARSON CITY, Nevada -- The state Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the Las Vegas Sands Corp. does not have to give confidential company information to Steven Jacobs, the fired former president of Sands Macau because the matter already was decided in district court.

In a 5-0 decision, justices granted Sands’ petition to overturn a district court order that it produce documents on Jacobs’s dismissal in 2010.

“Jacobs’s request for production of the documents was not timely because the district court had already issued its ruling on the underlying sanctions’ issues,” wrote Chief Justice Mark Gibbons.

Then Clark County District Court Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez in 2012 found the Sands and its affiliate Sands China Limited “had shown an “intention to deceive the court.” She fined the companies $25,000.

Besides the financial penalty, which will donated to the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada, Gonzalez ordered Sands to cover the legal bills of Jacobs for nine hearings that involved Macau’s Personal Data Protection Act.

Jacobs sued the company for wrongful termination and had asked Sands to turn over about 100,000 emails and other documents to help him make his case. But for more than a year, the company argued in court that the data protection law forbids this even though copies were in Las Vegas and beyond the reach of Macau authorities.

Further, Gonzalez said the companies could not use the law in the future as a defense and could not claim that Jacobs improperly possessed about 40 gigabytes of electronic evidence, a flashpoint in the past.

In the decision, justices said Sands lawyer Justin Jones, who is also a state senator, had reviewed company billing documents and Jacobs’ e-mail before testifying in the case to refresh his memories. Jacobs argued because of Jones’ actions his own lawyers should be allowed to look at the same information.

Gonzalez suggested to Jacobs that he file a motion for those documents. She said she would conduct a hearing and rule on his arguments for that information at a later date, according to the court decision. But two days later, without having that hearing, she filed her order sanctioning the Sands.