MGM Resorts International has filed nearly a dozen lawsuits against thousands of victims of the Las Vegas mass shooting, claiming the company has “no liability of any kind” to the survivors or the families of 58 people killed by a gunman at Mandalay Bay who opened fire on a country music crowd at Las Vegas Village in October 2017. Both the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino and the open-air venue where the shooting occurred are owned and operated by MGM Resorts International.
Filed in federal courts in California, Nevada and seven additional states, the complaints name and target victims who have sued the company and dismissed their claims or noted their intent to sue following the Route 91 Harvest Festival tragedy. In each complaint, attorneys for MGM Resorts International argue that the company cannot be held liable for the injuries or deaths of attendees because the security vendor it hired for the festival had been certified by the Department of Homeland Security for “protecting against and responding to acts of mass injury and destruction.”
The company supports its argument by citing the Support Anti-Terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies Act of 2002, or SAFETY Act, a federal law enacted after the terrorist attacks of 9/11 that extends liability protection to companies that use “anti-terrorism” technology or services that can “help prevent and respond to mass violence.”
As noted by The National Law Journal, MGM also cited the SAFETY Act in a motion to dismiss filed in the District Court of Nevada on June 29 in a related matter. In that case, plaintiffs’ attorneys Robert Eglet of Eglet Prince, Mark Robinson of Robinson Calcagnie and Kevin Boyle of Panish | Shea | Boyle | Ravipudi LLP represent some of the victims and responded to the company’s SAFETY Act argument in its motion to remand the case to Clark County District Court in Las Vegas.
“The act was a response to the terrorist attack of Sept. 11, 2001, to encourage companies to get into the business of developing anti-terrorism technology,” they wrote in their June 29 motion to remand. “It was not designed to limit the liability of a hotel that, despite prior incidents, affirmatively assisted a gunman to shoot out of its window and people below.”
Attorney Boyle acknowledges that MGM Resorts International isn’t seeking money with its move, it’s a legal tactic to push all the cases to federal court. “They’re trying to have the case where they want it to be, under the law they want to apply because they think it’s more favorable for them.”