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Updated on October 3, 2019:
MGM Resorts International has reached a settlement with the thousands of victims 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
Announced just two days after the second anniversary of the shooting, the settlement will pay victims between $735 million and $800 million, depending on the number of people who participate in the settlement. The process will conclude by late 2020.
“Our goal has always been to resolve these matters so our community and the victims and their families can move forward in the healing process. This agreement with the Plaintiffs’ Counsel is a major step, and one that we hoped for a long time would be possible,” Jim Murren, chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts, said in a statement. “We have always believed that prolonged litigation around these matters is in no one's best interest. It is our sincere hope that this agreement means that scenario will be avoided.”
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.
MGM drew criticism in 2018 when it filed a lawsuit claiming that the casino and entertainment giant 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 was rooted in the post-9/11 SAFETY Act, a federal law that incentivizes the use of Homeland Security-certified anti-terrorism technologies and services.
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 disputed at the time as being far too low.
MGM previously stated that the reason for its 2018 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 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 had not yet been authorized to accept legal notices on behalf of the Las Vegas shooting victims when MGM filed its suit, which required MGM 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 and Oct. 3, 2019.
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