MGM Resorts International filed suit against more than 1,000 victims of the Las Vegas shooting last week, according to documents filed in Nevada federal court.
The umbrella company manages both the concert venue and the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino where 64-year-old Stephen Paddock carried out the deadly attack from the 32nd floor last October. Some 58 people died and more than 850 sustained injuries after Paddock, for reasons still unclear to investigators, fired into a country music festival on the strip below — ultimately killing himself as police closed in on his location.
“Plaintiffs have no liability of any kind to defendants, or any of them, arising from Paddock’s mass attack,” attorney James J. Pisanelli wrote in a 60-page complaint filed Friday on behalf of the company.
The victims listed in the suit sought legal action against the hotel and concert venue in the months following the attack, according to court documents. Pisanelli writes federal law, via the 2002 SAFETY Act, shields MGM from liability because the company contracted a security firm approved by the Department of Homeland Security to monitor the music festival.
Debra DeShong, a spokesperson for MGM, told the BBC the lawsuit seeks no money from victims — only declaratory relief. “Years of drawn out litigation and hearings are not in the best interest of the victims, the community and those still healing,” she said Monday.
Robert Eglet, a lawyer representing several victims, panned the lawsuit as a desperate attempt to get the case heard in federal court, where he suspects MGM will stand a better chance of escaping liability. He told the Las Vegas Review-Journal the legal action “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.”