Casino owners sue Las Vegas shooting victims to try to avoid legal liability

MGM Resorts International has filed lawsuits against more than 1,000 victims of the worst mass shooting in the United States in order to avoid liability. 

The suits, filed in federal courts in California and Nevada, argue that MGM, the owner of the Mandalay Bay hotel and the Route 91 Harvest festival, cannot be held liable for deaths and injures from the mass shooting under a 2002 law passed by Congress, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal

The law gives immunity to companies that use "anti-terrorism" technology or services that can "help prevent and respond to mass violence," the Review-Journal reports.

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As a result, claims against the MGM parties "must be dismissed," it said. 

The lawsuits come months after a 58 people were killed and hundreds were injured in a mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest festival. The shooter carried out the attack while overlooking the venue from his 32nd floor hotel room  at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. 

The company argues that the federal law protecting it from being liable should apply in this case because the vendor MGM hired for Route 91, Contemporary Services Corp., had been certified by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for “protecting against and responding to acts of mass injury and destruction.”

It also argues that this extends to MGM, since MGM is the one that hired the security company. 

“The Federal Court is an appropriate venue for these cases and provides those affected with the opportunity for a timely resolution," Debra DeShong, a spokeswoman for MGM, said in a statement to the Review-Journal. "Years of drawn out litigation and hearings are not in the best interest of victims, the community and those still healing."

The FBI has yet to call the mass shooting that took place in Las Vegas an act of terrorism because the motive of the gunman remains unclear.

Some critics of MGM see the company as seeking to find a favorable judge.

The Review-Journal quoted a lawyer for some victims, Robert Eglet, who accused MGM of court shopping.

“I’ve never seen a more outrageous thing, where they sue the victims in an effort to find a judge they like,” he told the newspaper. “It’s just really sad that they would stoop to this level.”