Las Vegas hotel seeks immunity from
lawsuits by shooting victims
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[July 18, 2018]
(Reuters) - The owners of Mandalay
Bay, the Las Vegas hotel from which a gunman launched the deadliest mass
shooting in modern U.S. history, have filed countersuits against victims
seeking immunity from damage claims they might bring.
MGM Resorts International <MGM.N>, in lawsuits filed in federal courts
in Las Vegas and Los Angeles last week, denied liability for the carnage
and trauma of the October 2017 rampage in which 58 people were killed
and hundreds of others injured.
Since the attack more than 2,500 people have sued or threatened to sue
the hotel owners, according to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court
in Nevada on Friday by MGM Resorts, Mandalay Resort Group, MGM Resorts
Festival Grounds and MGM Resorts Venue Management. Survivors have
accused the hotel inadequate security measures.
Stephen Paddock, 64, a retired real estate investor, poured gunfire from
his 32nd-floor hotel suite into a crowd of 20,000 people attending an
outdoor music festival, then killed himself before police stormed his
Investigators found that Paddock amassed high-powered weapons and
ammunition in the hotel room in the days leading up to the shooting,
unnoticed by hotel security.
The countersuit maintained that the hotel was protected under a 2002
U.S. law known as the Support Anti-Terrorism by Fostering Effective
Technologies Act, or SAFETY, which limits liability to certain
businesses that take prescribed steps to "prevent and respond to mass
MGM maintained in the lawsuit that a private security company employed
for the festival and certified under the SAFETY Act by the Department of
Homeland Security (DHS) exempted the hotel from liability.
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A member of the FBI leaves the Mandalay Bay hotel following the mass
shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., October 4, 2017. REUTERS/Chris
"MGM parties cannot be held liable to defendants for deaths,
injuries or other damages arising from Paddock's attack," the
lawsuit said, adding that any claims against the hotel must be
Robert Eglet, a Las Vegas-based trial lawyer representing shooting
victims, said the SAFETY Act had "nothing to do with MGM or Mandalay
Bay" because the hotel's own security contractors were not certified
by the Department of Homeland Security. A separate security company
hired by the concert promoter was DHS-certified, Eglet said, but
nobody has sued them.
Eglet has about 1,000 shooting victims as clients but said most have
not taken the hotel to court, and he said that none of the handful
of victims who have lawsuits against MGM were named as defendants in
Friday's actions seeking immunity.
At least six victims who sued the hotel in state court in Las Vegas
are already contesting a previous move by Mandalay Bay to shift the
case to federal court by invoking jurisdiction under the SAFETY Act,
(Reporting by Barbara Goldberg in New York and Steve Gorman in Los
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