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MGM sues festivalgoers to dodge Route 91 liability

In a bid to avoid liability claims, MGM Resorts has filed pre-emptive federal lawsuits against more than 1,000 victims of the Route 91 Harvest attack

By IQ on 18 Jul 2018

The Route 91 Harvest festival site a week before the shooting

The Route 91 Harvest festival site pictured a week before the shooting


image © Mario Roberto Durán Ortiz

MGM Resorts International, the company which owns the Route 91 Harvest festival site, has reportedly sued more than 1,000 victims of last October’s mass shooting in a bid to avoid liability for the attack.

According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, MGM – which also owns the Mandalay Bay hotel from where Stephen Paddock opened fire on festivalgoers – is citing a 2002 act that exempts from liability any “anti-terrorism” technology or services that can “help prevent and respond to mass violence.” In the case of Route 91 Harvest, the company’s lawyers say, that protection extends to MGM, as it had hired a security company for the festival, Contemporary Services, which had previously been certified by the US department of homeland security for “protecting against and responding to acts of mass injury and destruction”.

The federal lawsuits seek no money from victims, but rather a judgment on whether the 2002 law is applicable – and if so, prevent civil lawsuits against the hotel chain over the shooting, which left 59, including the shooter, dead.

“Years of drawn-out litigation and hearings are not in the best interest of victims, the community and those still healing”

MGM, along with Paddock’s estate and festival promoter Live Nation, have been the target of several civil lawsuits since the shooting, with some of the most recent, filed in California in November, accusing MGM Resorts and its subsidiary, Mandalay Corp, of failing to properly monitor Paddock’s activities, train staff members and employ adequate security measures.

A statement from MGM Resorts confirms the litigation, arguing that all suits should be settled in US federal courts, rather than in Nevada. “Years of drawn-out litigation and hearings are not in the best interest of victims, the community and those still healing,” it reads.

Las Vegas lawyer Robert Eglet, who is representing several of the victims, tells the Review-Journal that the decision to file the complaints in a US federal court as a “blatant display of judge shopping” that “quite frankly verges on unethical”. “I’ve never seen a more outrageous thing, where they sue the victims in an effort to find a judge they like,” he says. “It’s just really sad that they would stoop to this level.”

 


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