...and may be awarded another £22m against Venetian hotel after longest civil action in Nevada history
Bovis Lend Lease has won a landmark court case in Las Vegas this week after one of the most expensive and convoluted hearings in construction history.

After 10 months of court proceedings, in which the jury dealt with 10,000 documents, the US arm of Bovis has been awarded £27m for unpaid work on the £920m Venetian hotel on the Las Vegas strip.

Sources close to the case said the contractor may end up being awarded between £36.8m and £49.1m, when interest and legal fees are determined at a separate hearing in the next month.

A separate claim by Bovis for up to £11m for work on the second phase of the hotel is on hold in the Nevada court, pending this week's judgment. The contractor is hoping to reach an amicable settlement on this part of the dispute.

Peter Marchetto, president of Bovis' US arm Lehrer McGovern Bovis, which will benefit from the judgment, said: "We are not the type of company to try to settle these type of matters in court, but had no alternative in this situation. We are pleased that the jury has spoken and the verdict in our favour speaks for itself."

The 3000-room Venetian was the biggest hotel in the world under construction at the end of the 1990s.

The verdict of the jury in our favour speaks for itself

Bovis’ US boss Peter Marchetto

The jury of eight at the Clark County district court said Lehrer McGovern Bovis was entitled to the damages after the longest civil court action in the history of Nevada. The legal costs for Bovis alone are thought to be up to £12m.

The jury also recommended that Bovis pay Venetian £1.4m to compensate for defects.

Judge James Brennan set out the decision in a 46-page summary. He will enter a formal verdict later, when the Venetian hotel will consider whether it should appeal to the Nevada supreme court.

The parties accused each other of breach of contract. The Venetian said that construction delays had led to the hotel opening three weeks late in May 1999, causing damage to the hotel's reputation and loss of income. It sought £123.6m damages.

Bovis wanted £59.6m for unpaid work, claiming that the delays had been caused by late alterations ordered by the Venetian.