On September 25, 2013, Hong Kong businessman Richard Suen was awarded $1.03 million in attorneys’ fees to cover expenses for his six-week trial. This was ten percent less than he requested, but substantially more than the 90-percent discount requested by his prior client, Las Vegas Sands Corp.
More than half of Suen’s legal bill after winning his trial – $593,000 out of $1.17 million – was for slides that aided in his case explanation and the “cost of hiring a trial technician to ensure hundreds of pieces of evidence popped up on big-screen monitors on cue.”
Clark County District Judge Rob Bare said, “I think members of a jury . . . are going to respect a more high-tech approach,” and will connect better with it. He also said, “I think the judiciary should encourage this type of professional, high-caliber type of presentation.”
Judge Bare justified it by noting Suen faced a huge challenge in “trying to prove a $328 million claim against a major player on the Strip and its prominent chairman and CEO, Sheldon Adelson.” In addition to the slides, Suen played videotaped depositions synchronized with the written version of the depositions.
J. Stephen Peek, the attorney representing Sands argued that “the computer-driven show did not meet Nevada law’s standard for awarding the winner ‘reasonable and necessary’ expenses.” Peek said, “Jurors can make decisions without the benefit of graphics and without trial technicians putting graphics on a screen.”
Suen’s attorney, Spencer Persson, was quick to point out that displaying digital documents saved time because attorneys were not flipping through thick binders. “I think we would have been here a lot longer without the technology to pull things up,” Person said.
Judge Bare did deduct charges for travel and hotel, and expenses for copies and faxes which are not permitted under Nevada law. Sands is almost certain to appeal to the Nevada Supreme Court and has already hired an appellate attorney to help with filing said appeal.