Sheldon Adelson Ordered to Pay Damages to Jewish Democratic Group Over Malicious Litigation

Posted on: October 1, 2019, 12:37h. 

Last updated on: October 1, 2019, 02:11h.

Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson will have to fork out damages to a Jewish Democratic organization that sued the LVS Corp CEO and chairman for pursuing “vexatious” litigation against it to the point of its near ruination.

Sheldon Adelson
Sheldon Adelson pursued the NJDC through the courts for years, leaving the organization heavily indebted and unable to function as a political entity. (Image: Jeff Scheid/Las Vegas Review-Journal)

The National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) claimed that a defamation lawsuit filed by Adelson six years ago amounted to “legal sadism” and “a narcissistic act of retribution… [launched] in a vain attempt to silence yet another one of his critics.”

On Monday, a federal judge in New York agreed, refusing Adelson’s motion to dismiss the NJDC’s claim and granting the group compensatory damages and legal fees. US District Judge Paul Oetken stopped short of awarding punitive damages, ruling that Nevada would be the best jurisdiction in which to pursue that claim.

Plan to Interrogate Adelson

To that end, Richard Emery, a lawyer for the NJDC, told The Courthouse New Service that he will move as quickly as possible and plans to depose Adelson in a Las Vegas courtroom on October 15.

Emery wants to interrogate the billionaire about 12 other cases in which he alleges Adelson pursued punitive, frivolous litigation in order to “bankrupt” his adversaries.

But Adelson is currently receiving treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and, at a separate court case in March, the 86-year-old was adjudged to be too ill to take the stand.

Defamatory Hyperlink

Adelson originally sued the NJDC in 2013 in response to an online petition it had circulated the previous summer. The petition exhorted then-presidential candidate Mitt Romney to refuse donations from Adelson on the grounds that much of his wealth came from Macau, which meant, according to NJDC, that “Chinese foreign money is flooding the political system.”

The communication also contained a hyperlink that redirected to an Associated Press article, which referred to an allegation that Adelson had “personally approved” of prostitution at his casinos in Macau.

This accusation had surfaced during a wrongful dismissal case brought against LVS by Mark Jacobs, the former head of the company’s China operations.


Adelson vehemently denied the prostitution claim and opted to sue the NJDC for its hyperlink, but not any of the dozens of news outlets that had directly reported Jacob’s allegation. Adelson pursued this litigation tenaciously for years through New York’s district and appellate courts.

The cost of defending itself left the NJDC $800,000 in debt and “unable to function as a political entity,” according to court filings.

The case ended up in the Nevada Supreme Court, where, in September 2017, a panel of judges found the casino owner had violated the state’s anti-SLAPP law.

A SLAPP, or Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation, is a case in which the plaintiff does not necessarily expect to win but instead is litigating in a bid to silence, intimidate or sensor their critics.

NJDC alleged that Adelson told associates privately that he simply wanted to “bankrupt” the organization.