A California college student has filed suit against MGM, Live Nation, bump stock manufacturers and the estate of Stephen Paddock after getting shot during the Route 91 Harvest Festival massacre in Las Vegas. The suit, filed on behalf of Paige Gasper, 21, claims that MGM Resorts International — which owns the Mandalay Bay hotel from which Paddock opened fire and the venue that hosted the country music event — is liable for the mass shooting, along with concert promoter Live Nation and the makers of the after-market gun accessory that allowed the shooter to fire his semi-automatic rifles in a manner that mimics the rapidity of long-banned automatic weapons, according to CNN.
The suit questions accuses MGM of not responding in a timely manner to the shooting of Mandalay security officer Jesus Campos, who was injured when he went to the 32nd floor to check on a report by another guest, only to be shot by Paddock. In a recently revised timeline, investigators say that the Campos shooting took place six minutes before the gunman opened fire on the crowd of 22,000 below, killing 58 and injuring more than 500 in the worst mass shooting in modern American history.
Gasper’s legal team told CNN that the suit — likely the first of many to follow — is not about the money, but about improving security at hotels and other venues. “If allowed, evil will find a way to hurt and destroy,” Gasper’s mother said. “This can no longer be allowed.” Her attorneys claim that MGM should have responded faster after Campos’ shooting, but also that hotel security should have noticed that something was wrong on several occasions, including when the shooter carried his large arsenal of rifles into his room, when he set up surveillance cameras outside the suite and when he broke two windows in the room and started shooting.
According to the suit, Wheatland, California, native Gasper was struck by a bullet that entered under her right underarm, went through her chest, shattered ribs and lacerated her liver, before exiting her right side. “[Gasper] was rendered physically incapacitated as a result of her injuries, and was assisted by friends in an attempt to escape further gunshots, only to have the crowd of people surrounding Gasper trample her as they tried to flee the concert venue,” reads the suit filed on behalf of the psychology major who lawyers note is on the dean’s list at Sonoma State University. It goes on to claim that she was saved by a “good samaritan” who helped her take cover behind a metal dumpster on the concert grounds before a second person put her in their truck along with other injured people and transported her to a local hospital; the college junior is at home recovering in California now.
The legal action faults promoter Live Nation for allegedly failing to “build and mark” adequate emergency exits on the 15-acre festival site, as well as train its employees on how to respond to such an emergency. Attorney Chad Pinkerton alleges that there was no emergency evacuation plan or loudspeaker system to provide instructions.
The suit seeks monetary damages for pain, emotional distress and loss of income as well as attorney’s fees and allows room to add other manufacturers and designers of bump stocks to the legal action, but it specifically names Texas-based Slide Fire Solutions; Paddock had bump stocks on 12 of his rifles. The lawsuit claims Slide Fire failed to: properly design, manufacture and market their bump stock devices, as well as alleging that the company negligently advertised/promoted bump stocks as “an inexpensive device that could be used to circumvent federal laws prohibiting fully automatic weapons.”
The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence has filed a class action suite against Slide Fire Solutions “on behalf of concert goers who suffered emotional distress as a result of the shooting,” according to CNN Money. That complaint, filmed in Clark County District Court, alleges that “this horrific assault did not occur, could not occur, and would not have occurred with a conventional handgun, rifle or shotgun, of the sort used by law-abiding responsible gun owners for hunting or self-defense.” The suit from the gun control group asks defendants to pay for counseling costs and other treatments for emotional distress suffered by the victims, as well as punitive damages.
While congressional action to ban or change the legality of bump stocks appears to have stalled out for now, YouTube announced this week that is has removed video tutorials demonstrating how to make rifles more deadly using the devices.