|By Steve Green, Las Vegas
SunMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
April 23, 2012--Hotel-casino giant Las Vegas Sands Corp. asked a U.S. court Friday to stop a former partner from proceeding with a lawsuit against Sands in Macau.
Asian American Entertainment Corp. of Macau filed suit last month in the Chinese gambling territory trying to collect $375 million in damages over claims that Sands breached its agreement to jointly apply for a casino license there.
A similar lawsuit from 2007 was dismissed by a federal judge in Las Vegas in 2010 when Asian American Entertainment, having lost its legal representation, failed to hire new attorneys.
Headed by Taiwan businessman Shi Sheng (Marshall) Hao, Asian American Entertainment appears to hope it will be more successful with the new litigation initiated last month in China.
Asian American claims in the suit that Sands, headed by billionaire Sheldon Adelson, improperly and secretly decided to stop working with Asian American for the casino license.
Instead, Sands teamed up with another company, Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd. of Hong Kong, in a successful bid to win a lucrative Chinese casino license in 2002. Las Vegas Sands and Galaxy later ended their joint venture and are now competitors.
"Without the defendant's illicit and faulty misconduct, the plaintiff would have obtained the concession for the development of games of luck and chance in a casino and the license to develop a hotel and other utilities," Asian American charged in the March lawsuit in Macau.
But attorneys for Las Vegas Sands, in their filings in federal court in Las Vegas on Friday, said the bulk of Asian American's claims are barred by the statute of limitations and that Asian American abandoned the rest of its claims when it gave up on the U.S. lawsuit in 2010.
Las Vegas Sands in Friday's court filing asked the U.S. court to issue preliminary and permanent injunctions to stop the Asian American lawsuit in Macau, suggesting the new lawsuit in China is an end-run around the jurisdiction of U.S. courts over the dispute.
"An injunction is necessary and appropriate to safeguard this court's jurisdiction, to enforce its judgment and orders, to promote the public interest in finality and repose and to protect Las Vegas Sands from vexatious and unwarranted re-litigation of the issues that were already resolved in this action," Sands' court filing in Las Vegas said.
"Injunctive relief is warranted because Las Vegas Sands is already bearing the costs and other burdens of re-litigation in Macau," the filing said.
Asian American Entertainment attorneys have not yet responded to Friday's filings in the U.S. court.
Las Vegas Sands is represented in the litigation by Morris Law Group in Las Vegas and the Washington, D.C., law firm Robbins, Russell, Englert, Orseck, Untereiner & Sauber LLP.
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