The owners of the Mandalay Bay hotel says the hotel bears no liability in last year’s Las Vegas concert massacre and is asking the courts to grant federal protections that shield companies who provide anti-terrorism products and services to civilians.
MGM Resorts International is pursuing cases in a number of states including Nevada, California and New York arguing it has “no liability of any kind” to survivors or relatives of those killed during a rampage last year by Stephen Paddock at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. MGM Resorts International, which is facing a barrage of lawsuits over the shooting, responded Friday by naming more than 1,000 of the shooting victims as defendants in two lawsuits of its own. The entertainment giant is not seeking monetary damages but, citing a federal law, asks the courts to protect it from legal actions filed by the victims.
The company’s legal action challenges more than 1,000 people who accuse MGM of negligence in the attack, during which Paddock shot at attendees of the Route 91 Harvest Festival with automatic weapons from the hotel’s 32nd floor.
MGM said it was released from liability for the attack under a US law passed in the wake of 9/11 because the security firm it contracted to oversee the concert, Contemporary Services Corp (CSC), was certified by the Department of Homeland Security.
The 2002 Support Anti-Terrorism by Fostering Technologies (SAFETY) Act includes limits on liability for claims resulting from an act of terrorism and applies to a range of products, software and services.
While denying any liability for the attack, MGM claimed the cases brought forward by victims may have implicated CSC.
“If defendants were injured by Paddock’s assault, as they allege, they were inevitably injured both because Paddock fired from his window and because they remained in the line of fire at the concert. Such claims inevitably implicate security at the concert – and may result in loss to CSC,” the company’s lawsuits said.
Lawyer Robert Eglet, representing a number of the victims pursuing cases against MGM, said CSC’s release under the act does not extend to the hotel group.
“In my 30 years of practice, this is the most reprehensible behaviour I have ever seen a defendant engage in,” Eglet told reporters, adding CSC failed to provide adequate security on the night of the shooting or in the days leading up to it.
“This is absolute gamesmanship. It’s outrageous. It’s just pouring gasoline on the fire of [the victims] suffering. They are very distraught, very upset over this. MGM is trying to intimidate them.”