Company rejects claims that it should be held liable for “deaths, injuries, and emotional distress” resulting from the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history
A federal judges panel denied on Wednesday a request by MGM Resorts International to centralize a number of lawsuits filed by the Las Vegas casino and hospitality company in the months after last year’s Route 91 Harvest music festival mass shooting.
On the night of October 1, 2017, a lone gunman opened fire into a crowd of more than 22,000 concert-goers attending the Route 91 Harvest country music festival from his suite on the 32nd floor of MGM-owned Mandalay Bay. As many as 58 people were killed in the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history and thousands were wounded.
Multiple surviving victims of the incident and families of many of those who were killed filed lawsuits or threatened to file lawsuits against MGM in the aftermath of the shooting. They all accused the gambling giant of negligence and failure to implement the necessary safety measures during the music festival.
On July 13, MGM filed lawsuits in several states, including Nevada and California, against the victims suing the company, arguing against claims that it was responsible for “deaths, injuries, and emotional distress resulting” from the deadly attack and that it did not owe anything to the victims as it was protected by a federal law that took effect after 9/11.
MGM’s Lawsuits Explained
The company filed a total of nine lawsuits back in July, collectively suing the victims of the shooting and the families of slain victims. The company’s actions have caused a wave of protests and fiery comments across social media, to which it has responded with the explanation that it only wanted to avoid lengthy and costly litigation and that it was not seeking compensation.
MGM has also pointed out that it believed it was protected from liability under the 2002 Support Anti-Terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies (SAFETY) Act, which was enforced after 9/11. Following the coordinated terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, the private sector became extremely cautious when deploying security technologies as a result from the huge liability risks that involved. The SAFETY Act aimed to encourage businesses to deploy anti-terror technologies.
MGM has explained that the Route 91 Harvest security services were provided by Contemporary Services Corporation, which had been certified by US Department of Homeland Security. Companies certified by the department to provide protection against and to respond to acts of mass destruction and injury are generally protected from liability under the SAFETY Act.
However, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department did not identify motives for the mass shooting during its investigation and also did not bill the attack as an act of terrorism, which raises multiple questions about the validity of MGM’s claims.
The Las Vegas company filed a request last month to have all nine lawsuits centralized. Last week, a panel heard its arguments at a hearing in San Fransisco. As mentioned earlier, a panel of federal judges has decided against the request. MGM said in a Wednesday statement that it will pursue legal action in the courts where it has previously filed its lawsuits.
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