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The Real Deal Los Angeles

MGM Resorts hopes to limit liability with suit against victims of Vegas mass shooting

The Mandalay Bay owner claims a federal statute will protect it from legal claims
July 17, 2018 12:00PM

MGM Resorts exec James Murren and Mandalay Bay

MGM Resorts International has sued more than 1,000 victims of last year’s mass shooting at a Las Vegas festival, claiming it has no liability in the injury or deaths that occurred when a gunman opened fire from inside the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.

In the lawsuit filed Friday in federal court in Nevada and California, the Mandalay Bay owner says a 2002 federal act limits the hotel’s liability, Bloomberg reported. The act, named the Support Anti-Terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies, protects companies that use “anti-terrorism” technology or services to respond “to acts of mass injury and destruction.”

MGM is one of the most prominent hotel owners on the Las Vegas Strip. In addition to the Mandalay Bay — and the concert venue that held the festival — the company owns the MGM Grand, The Mirage, Bellagio, Aria, Luxor, and Excalibur, among others. Outside of the city, it also owns the MGM National Harbor near Washington, D.C., MGM Grand Detroit and the MGM Macau in China.

Over 2,500 individuals have sued or threatened to sue MGM following the Oct. 1 mass killing. From his 32nd-floor suite at the Mandalay Bay, Stephen Paddock used more than 20 automatic weapons to kill 58 individuals and wound over 500, at the Route 91 Harvest Festival. Paddock killed himself shortly after.

The hotelier is saying it hired a security company for the festival, and thus is protected in the statute. The firm, Contemporary Services Corp., had also been certified by the Department of Homeland Security “for protecting against and responding to acts of mass injury and destruction,” according to the the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Robert Eglet, a Las Vegas-based attorney who represents some of the victims, told the local paper that MGM’s decision to file in federal court is a “blatant display” of judge shopping. Instead, he claims, the company should be filing in state court. [Bloomberg] — Natalie Hoberman