MGM Resorts International has filed lawsuits against more than 1,000 victims of the tragic Mandalay Bay shooting in Las Vegas last October in an attempt to have liability claims against it dismissed.
The suits, filed in Nevada and California on Friday, argue that MGM can’t be held liable for the mass shooting and that all claims against it “must be dismissed,” according to a report in the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
The global gaming giant’s defense revolves around a 2002 federal act passed in the wake of 911 to protect companies that work to prevent and respond to acts of mass violence from liability. In this case, MGM argues that its security vendor Contemporary Services Corp was protected due to being certified for such work by the Department of Homeland Security and that MGM, as its employer, was therefore protected too.
Although the lawsuits were technically filed against victims, their sole purpose is to prompt a judge to determine whether the 2002 federal act applies to the Mandalay Bay shooting and, if so, dismiss all civil lawsuits against MGM.
“The Federal Court is an appropriate venue for these cases and provides those affected with the opportunity for a timely resolution,” the Las Vegas Review-Journal quoted MGM spokeswoman Debra DeShong as saying.
“Years of drawn out litigation and hearings are not in the best interest of victims, the community and those still healing.”
However, the move brought a stinging response from local attorney Robert Eglet, who represents some of the victims. Eglet described the lawsuits 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 said. “It’s just really sad that they would stoop to this level.”
Fifty-eight people were killed and hundreds more injured when a gunman fired upon an adjacent music festival from the window of a Mandalay Bay hotel room on 1 October 2017.