MGM Resorts International has emphasized that its recent legal action regarding the Oct. 1 mass shootings in Las Vegas is not seeking money or other compensation from victims, but instead is merely an effort to determine whether or not a federal law prohibits the victims’ lawsuits against the company.
Gunman Stephen Paddock fired 1,100 rounds from a guest room on the 32nd floor of Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, which is owned by MGM, during the Route 91 Harvest Festival concert. Fifty-eight people died and 851 were injured, making it the deadliest mass shooting by an individual in the United States. MGM contracted Contemporary Services Corporation (CSC), backed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), to provide security services at the event.
MGM has indicated that it is seeking a ruling through the federal court system to reach a timely resolution to victims’ lawsuits and put an end to plaintiffs’ attorneys filing and refiling lawsuits throughout the country. The company filed for a declaratory judgment, based on the Declaratory Judgment Act, which permits a federal court to declare the rights and other legal relations of parties in “a case of actual controversy.”
“All we are doing, in effect, is asking for a change in venue from state to federal court,” said Debra DeShong, an MGM Resorts spokesperson. “We are not asking for money or attorney’s fees. We only want to resolve these cases, quickly, fairly and efficiently.”
MGM is requesting a federal court to determine whether the SAFETY Act prohibits lawsuits by victims against the company, thus restricting them to sue only CSC. The SAFETY Act was part of the Homeland Security Act of 2002, and limits liability for claims resulting from an “act of terrorism” in which qualified security technologies or services are involved.
The company claims that because CSC provided the services to a customer (MGM), and because it has received a special designation by the DHS, it is covered under the SAFETY Act. That would potentially allow victims of the Las Vegas mass murder to receive federal funding designated specifically for assisting victims of mass violence and terrorism.