Owners of MGM Resorts International have filed federal lawsuits against the victims of last year’s Las Vegas mass shooting, in a bid to protect against liability for the injuries and deaths that occurred during the attack.
In the face of over 2,500 claims made against MGM, the corporate leaders countersued more than 1,000 victims of the shooting.
MGM, the owners of both Mandalay Bay and the Route 91 Harvest festival venue, where the shooting took place, argued that the victims’ claims against them “must be dismissed,” according to the lawsuit (pdf) filed on July 13 in Nevada and California.
The suit argues that security for the concert, provided by Contemporary Services Corp., was certified by the secretary of Homeland Security. It stated that the security had taken all actions needed “for protecting against and responding to acts of mass injury and destruction.”
“Plaintiffs have no liability of any kind to Defendants,” the complaint stated.
According to authorities, lone gunman Stephen Paddock killed 58 people and wounded hundreds more on the night of Oct. 1, 2018, firing on a crowd of concertgoers from the window of his Mandalay Bay hotel suite. He later shot and killed himself as police approached his room.
The company also made reference to legislation known as the SAFETY Act, which provides liability protection to any company that uses antiterrorist technology, which the suit states it used as part of security provided by Contemporary Services Corp.
“Paddock’s mass attack meets the requirements of the SAFETY Act as set forth in the statute and the Regulations promulgated by the Department of Homeland Security,” the suit states.
Debra DeShong, a spokeswoman for MGM Resorts, said in a statement on July 16: “The Federal Court is an appropriate venue for these cases and provides those affected with the opportunity for a timely resolution. Years of drawn-out litigation and hearings are not in the best interest of victims, the community, and those still healing.”
Robert Eglet, a Las Vegas attorney who represents some of the victims of the shooting, said the grounds of the lawsuit are “obscure.” He called MGM’s decision to file the claim in federal court a “blatant display of judge shopping.”
“I’ve never seen a more outrageous thing, where they sue the victims in an effort to find a judge they like,” he told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “It’s just really sad that they would stoop to this level,” he said.