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Court punishes casino CEO for not answering deposition questions

The deposition of the CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corp. in connection to an employment law case lasted just 10 minutes. After a federal judge’s decision on Dec. 5, the two sides will have a second take – at the defendant’s expense.

The judge is presiding over a lawsuit filed against the executive by his former driver, who claims he was not properly compensated for overtime work he performed. The defendant was deposed to have him answer questions under oath related to the litigation. But as a videotape of the Oct. 6 deposition shows, the CEO repeatedly refused to answer the questions. Of the remaining questions, many were objected to by his attorney. After just 10 minutes, the deposition ended.

Following the deposition, the CEO’s attorney filed a motion that would have immunized his client from being deposed again in the case, on the theory that his employees had more knowledge about the matter.

But on Dec. 5, the judge ruled against the defendant. He said some of the questions posed in the deposition were foundational and that the CEO had personal knowledge of the answers. The time requirements of his job do not excuse him from being deposed, the judge ruled.

He also chastised the attorney for “interrogat[ing] opposing counsel” about the relevance of each question, and called his objections “suggestive, argumentative and unnecessary.”

The judge ordered a new deposition to take place within three weeks. As a sanction, the defendant was ordered to compensate the plaintiff’s costs associated with the Oct. 6 deposition, and pay for the new deposition as well.

Source: VEGAS INC., “Sands CEO sanctioned for refusing to answer questions in deposition,” Steve Green, Dec. 05, 2011

John P. Aldrich
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