MGM Resorts launch lawsuit against Las Vegas festival shooting victims
In a move that has sparked outrage, MGM Resorts International has filed a lawsuit against over 1000 victims of the Las Vegas mass shooting of the Route 91 Harvest country music festival last October.
58 died and hundreds more were injured by the single shooter using fast-acting guns.
It was described by authorities as, “the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history”.
The hospitality group owns the Mandalay Bay Hotel where the shooting began firing from his 32nd floor hotel room, and also the venue where the festival was held.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that in its documents, MGM Resorts argues it cannot held liable for the deaths or injuries “or other damages” and that any present and future claims against the company “must be dismissed.”
It emphasises, “Plaintiffs have no liability of any kind to defendants.”
MGM Resorts is using a 2002 federal law that protects any company that uses “anti-terrorism” technology or services that can “help prevent and respond to mass violence.”
The lawsuit says that the security firm hired for the event, Contemporary Services Corp, is legally protected as a result and that the protection should extend to MGM Resorts because it hired the security firm.
The lawsuit does not ask for money from the victims, just protection from any legal action from them.
Las Vegas attorney Robert Eglet, who represents some of the victims, told media that MGM Resorts’ filing the suit in a federal court rather than just in the state of Nevada was to ensure it got a sympathetic 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.”
Another, Muhammad Aziz, representing 1,400 survivors, called the lawsuits “unprecedented” and that his clients were “surprised, shocked, angered.”
The court case will hinge on whether the mass shooting at the festival can be described as “a terrorist act”.
The FBI has not described it as such, because terrorism is defined as a deliberate act caused by an ideology.
No one still knows why the shooter Stephen Paddock, who was killed by police during the attack, took to violence.
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 Paddock as he shuttled numerous weapons to his room.
A victims fund was set up immediately after, and by December had raised $22 million in donations.