MGM Resorts International, which owns the Mandalay Bay hotel and the site of the Route 91 festival, has filed federal lawsuits against more than 1,000 victims of last year’s mass shooting in Las Vegas.
The company is looking to avoid liability in the Oct. 1 shooting that left 58 concertgoers dead and hundreds more injured, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. MGM claims it isn’t at fault because a security vendor it hired had followed protocol approved by the Dept. of Homeland Security with the purpose of “protecting against and responding to acts of mass injury and destruction.”
The complaint argues that it is covered by a 2002 federal act that extends liability protections to any company that uses “anti-terrorism” technology or services that “help prevent and respond to mass violence.” Contemporary Services Corp. — the firm MGM hired for Route 91 — had been certified by the DHS, leading MGM to argue that it too should be protected and should have “no liability of any kind to defendants.”
MGM wants a judge to determine whether the 2002 act, passed in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, is applicable to the Route 91 shootings. The company is not seeking money from the victims.
“The Federal Court is an appropriate venue for these cases and provides those affected with the opportunity for a timely resolution,” said Debra DeShong, an MGM spokesperson. “Years of drawn out litigation and hearings are not in the best interest of victims, the community and those still healing.”
Attorney Robert Eglet, who has represented several of the shooting victims, was critical of the legal move, calling it “blatant display” of shopping for a sympathetic federal judge.
“I’ve never seen a more outrageous thing, where they sue the victims in an effort to find a judge they like,” he said. “It’s just really sad that they would stoop to this level.”
A lawsuit filed in late November on behalf of over 450 victims charged that MGM had failed in its duty to monitor the activities of shooter Stephen Paddock as he shuttled numerous weapons to a suite in the Mandalay Bay, overlooking the Route 91 festival site.