Mandalay Bay Resort Owners Suing Victims Of Mass Shooting
The owners of a Las Vegas resort and music that was used by a gunman in America’s worst-ever mass shooting last year that killed 58 people have taken legal action out against the victims.
The world came to a standstill last year when Stephen Paddock, fired shot after shot from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay resort onto a crowd of about 22,000 at a nearby music festival.
The owners of the resort and the Route 91 music festival, MGM Resorts International, have sued more than 1,000 victims of the shooting in a bid to prevent them from taking any legal action against the company.
The lawsuits, which were filed in federal courts in California and Nevada are basically a way to clear the company’s name. The suits state that MGM cannot be held liable for any deaths or injuries from the mass shooting under a 2002 SAFETY Act passed by congress.
The law in question states that companies can not be held liable in the case of mass attacks if they use “anti-terrorism” technology or any service that can “help prevent and respond to mass violence”.
MGM have argued that they used this type of technology as the security vendor hired for the event, Contemporary Services Corporation, had been certified by the Department of Homeland Security.
A spokesperson for MGM, Debra DeShong, said that the legal action was being taken in the best interest of the victims.
“Years of drawn out litigation and hearing are not in the best interest of victims, the community and those still healing,” she said.
The lawsuits do not seek any money from the victims of the mass shooting but would instead have cases moved to a federal court. Ms DeShong says that federal courts will provide quicker justice for the victims.
“Congress provided that the federal courts were the correct place for such litigation relating to incidents of mass violence like this one where security services approved by the Department of Homeland Security were provided,” she said. “The federal court is an appropriate venue for these cases and provides those affected with the opportunity for a timely resolution.”
Since the devastating incident last year, lawsuits have been filed against both MGM and the concert promoter Live Nation for not having adequate security or properly trained staff.
A lawyer for 900 of the victims, Robert Eglet, has said that the pre-emptive action from MGM, trying to claim that the 2002 SAFETY Act would give them immunity, was “outrageous” and “reprehensible”.
“So to suggest they are trying to prevent victims from suing is simply not true,” he said.
The reason why Mr Eglet believes that the 2002 act would not apply in this situation was because the security company used at the event is separate from the hotel and resort, and because Paddock’s attack was not classed as terrorism.
“And it won’t be classed as terrorism. All evidence points to a lone individual,” said Mr Eglet.
He claimed that the lawsuits filed by MGM were distressing because those caught up in the attack were being “victimised twice”.