Hundreds of victims shot during the Las Vegas Mandalay Bay massacre are being sued by the hotel’s owner, MGM Resorts.
MGM Resorts filed lawsuits variously in Nevada, California, New York and other states, claiming it has “no liability of any kind” to survivors or families of victims under an anti-terrorist law.
High-stakes gambler, Stephen Paddock, on October 1, 2017, fired on a crowd gathered for a country music festival at the Mandalay Bay, killing 58 people and injuring hundreds more before shooting himself.
He said: “This is absolute gamesmanship. It’s outrageous. It’s just pouring gasoline on the fire of (the victims’) suffering.
“They are very distraught, very upset over this. MGM is trying to intimidate them.”
Victims with active lawsuits against MGM do not face the company’s legal claim. MGM says a 2002 law limits liabilities when a company or group uses services certified by the US Department of Homeland Security and mass attacks occur.
The company says it is not liable because its security vendor for the concert, Contemporary Services Corporation, was federally certified at the time of the 1 October 2017 shooting.
MGM claims the victims – through actual and threatened lawsuits – have implicated CSC’s services because they involve concert security, including training, emergency response and evacuation.
The MGM lawsuit claims: “If defendants were injured by Paddock’s assault, as they allege, they were inevitably injured both because Paddock fired from his window and because they remained in the line of fire at the concert. Such claims inevitably implicate security at the concert – and may result in loss to CSC.”
CSC’s general counsel, James Service, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that it does not comment on litigation involving the company or a third party. Brian Claypool, an attorney who was at the music festival during the shooting, called the lawsuits a ‘hypocritical manoeuvre’ that will turn into a ‘public relations nightmare for MGM.”
He said: “We collectively view this as a bullying tactic to intimidate the survivors who are rightfully seeking social change and redress through the litigation process.”
MGM spokeswoman Debra DeShong said Congress determined that federal courts should handle any lawsuits over mass attacks where federally certified security services were provided.
She said: “While we expected the litigation that followed, we also feel strongly that victims and the community should be able to recover and find resolution in a timely manner.”