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Major Victory for Starwood Hotels

A New Jersey Superior Court trial judge
has dismissed a $1.5 billion contract suit against Starwood Hotels, ITT
Corporation, and Sheraton brought by a New Jersey company that claimed it
had an exclusive worldwide telecommunications contract with Sheraton
Hotels and Caesars casinos. Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw LLP defended the
companies in the suit. After 24 days of trial over two months, a Camden County judge dismissed
the claims brought by Intelnet International. The company claimed it had
exclusive rights to provide telecommunications and media services—
telephone, in-room movies and Internet services—to all Sheraton hotels
and Caesars casinos for a seven-year period.

“Starwood inherited this litigation through its acquisition of
ITT/Sheraton in 1998,” said Richard Ben-Veniste, a partner in Mayer,
Brown, Rowe & Maw’s Washington, D.C., office, who, along with New York
partner Robert Ward, led the litigation team.

“Starwood’s resolve to stand on its right to a judicial determination has
been vindicated by the judge’s verdict rejecting the plaintiff’s contract
claims,” said Ben-Veniste.

In a May 20th ruling, the Court found that one of the agreements with ITT
was back-dated and that plaintiff’s testimony was a newly manufactured
attempt to convince the Court otherwise.

Prior to trial, Mayer Brown was successful in obtaining a key summary
judgment ruling in favor of the defendants, eliminating the claims brought
under the other agreement at issue in the case. Mayer Brown was opposed by
Milberg Weiss Bershad & Schulman LLP, along with Henry Miller, a partner
in Clark, Gagliardi & Miller, a well-known trial lawyer and former
president of the New York State Bar Association, who took the lead role
for the plaintiff in trying the case.