MGM Resorts International drew criticism recently for offering a charitable donation to the more than 1,900 people affected by the Oct. 1, 2017 mass shooting at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, which killed 58 and wounded hundreds.
Las Vegas, Nevada, Oct. 2017 | Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino | Photo credit: evenfh
Mandalay Bay, which is owned by MGM, was the site of the Route 91 Harvest Festival, where shooter Stephen Paddock opened fire into a crowd of concertgoers from his room on the 32nd floor.
Here’s how MGM’s lawsuit could impact you.
The lawsuit filed by the casino and entertainment giant claims that MGM is released from liability for the shooting because it hired a firm certified by the Department of Homeland Security to provide security services at the festival. The claim is rooted in the post-9/11 SAFETY Act, a federal law that incentivizes the use of Homeland Security-certified anti-terrorism technologies and services.
MGM is required to notify each person involved in the lawsuit within 90 days.
The company recently reached out to victims’ attorneys to offer a $500 charitable donation on behalf of each person who either waived being served with a legal notice or authorized an attorney to accept the service for them. The cost of personally serving each person with the required notice could run up to $250, according to MGM, a figure that attorney Robert Eglet disputes as being far too low.
MGM previously stated that the reason for its legal claim was to provide resolution to the victims and community “in a timely manner,” avoiding “years of drawn out litigation and hearings.”
More than 2,100 victims and related persons have either filed or threatened to file complaints against MGM in relation to the shooting.
Serving the defendants named in MGM’s claim is a standard part of civil proceedings. It informs the defendant that they are named in a lawsuit, provides them with a copy of the complaint they’re named in, and gives them a 21-day window to respond. Most of the firms representing victims are not yet authorized to accept legal notices on behalf of the Las Vegas shooting victims, which means that MGM has to track down all of the more than 1,900 people named in its claim and serve each one individually.
MGM Resorts International office | Photo credit: Jonathan Weiss
The original statement by MGM Resorts International is below:
“The unforeseeable events of October 1st affected thousands of people in Las Vegas and throughout North America. From the day of this tragedy, we have focused on the recovery of those impacted by the despicable act of one evil individual. While we expected the litigation that followed, we also feel strongly that victims and the community should be able to recover and find resolution in a timely manner. Congress provided that the Federal Courts were the correct place for such litigation relating to incidents of mass violence like this one where security services approved by the Department of Homeland Security were provided. The Federal Court is an appropriate venue for these cases and provides those affected with the opportunity for a timely resolution. Years of drawn out litigation and hearings are not in the best interest of victims, the community and those still healing.”
-Debra DeShong, spokesperson for MGM Resorts International
Eglet, who heads the trial team at Las Vegas law firm Eglet Prince, which represents hundreds of victims of the shooting, described MGM’s SAFETY Act claim as “outrageous” in an interview with USA Today: “In my 30 years of practice, this is the most reprehensible behavior I have ever seen a defendant engage in. They are trying to victimize these people twice.”
Eglet added that the SAFETY Act applies to the security firm MGM contracted for the festival, Contemporary Services Corporation, and not MGM itself. Since CSC was approved by the Department of Homeland Security, MGM contends, it is released from liability under the act, but Eglet said that the release does not extend to MGM.
Read the legal document here:
Tyler Davidson, Vice President and Chief Content Director of Meetings Today, also contributed to this report.
This article was originally posted in July 2018 and was updated on Oct. 1, 2018.
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