MGM Resorts International, owner of the Mandalay Bay is arguing that the company is not responsible for the October 1, 2017, mass shooting that took place at the Route 91 Harvest festival in Las Vegas. The entertainment juggernaut has filed lawsuits against more than 1000 shooting victims in federal courts in both Nevada and California. MGM is asking a judge to dismiss and civil lawsuits filed against the company that is connected to the mass shooting of October 1, 2017. MGM Resorts owns Mandalay Bay, Aria, Park MGM, The New York, Excaliber, Luxor, MGM Grand, Bellagio, The Mirage and Circus Circus.
All eyes across the world were on the small desert town of Las Vegas on October 1, 2017, when Stephen Paddock opened fire on a crowd of country music fans at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival. Paddock open fire on concertgoers from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay before taking his own life. When the smoke had cleared and the hailstorm of bullets ceased, 58 people had lost their lives and 850 others were injured. Federal investigators have determined that Paddock acted alone.
MGM is Claiming it is Protected Under Federal Anti-Terrorism Law
MGM Resorts is claiming that any civil lawsuits filed against the company should be immediately dismissed. The argument being made by MGM Resorts is that Mandalay Bay and the Route 91 Harvest festival venue cannot be held liable due to the fact that the corporation should be protected under a 2002 federal anti-terrorism law.
The law in question MGM attorneys are focusing on is called Support Anti-Terrorism by Fostering Effective Technology Act of 2002, or the SAFETY Act. The SAFETY Act was put into place as a result of the September 11th attacks in the US in 2001. The purpose of the SAFETY Act was to protect manufactures developing technologies that could help guard against future terrorist attacks. The SAFETY Act also applies to companies that provide services to defend against and respond to threats.
The Contemporary Services Company was hired by MGM to provide security for the Route 91 Harvest festival. The company is certified by the Department of Homeland Security and therefore shielded from liability in the case of an attack. The lawsuits argue that protection extends to MGM because MGM hired Contemporary Services.
The Las Vegas Massacre was Never Referred to as an Act of Terrorism by the FBI
The SAFETY Act was designed to encourage manufacturers and service providers to help in the fight against terrorism. To this day, the FBI has never designated the Las Vegas shooting as an act of terrorism due to the fact that Stephen Paddock never expressed “extremist ideologies of a political, religious, radical or environmental nature.” According to a lawsuit filed in the United States District Court on July 13th, 2018, the SAFETY Act does apply in this case. the argument is being made that Stephen Paddock’s motive should be irrelevant.
The suit states, “The SAFETY Act applies to claims “arising out of, relating to, or resulting from an act of terrorism.” 279. The SAFETY Act defines an act of terrorism: An act meets the requirements if the act is (i) “unlawful” (ii) “causes harm to a person … in the United States,” and (iii) “uses or attempts to use … weapons … designed or intended to cause mass … injury.” 6 U.S.C. § 444(2)(B). There is no requirement in the statute or regulations of an ideological motive or objective for the attack for it to meet the requirements of the SAFETY Act.”
It goes on to state that “Public statements by the Secretary of Homeland Security concerning the attack make clear that the attack meets the requirements of the SAFETY Act; indeed, based on the plain language of the statute, the regulations, and the facts, no other determination could be possible.”
“No MGM Party attempted to commit, knowingly participated in, aided, abetted, committed, or participated in any conspiracy to commit any act of terrorism of criminal act related to mass attack perpetrated by Stephen Paddock at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas, Nevada, on October 1, 2017.”
Shooting Victims Lawyers Accuse MGM of “Judge Shopping”
Attorney Robert Eglet is representing some of the injured victims of the mass shooting and he told the Las Vegas Review-Journal, “I’ve never seen a more outrageous thing, where they sue the victims in an effort to find a judge they like. It’s just really sad that they would stoop to this level.” Eglet argues that the cases filed against Mandalay Bay and MGM Resorts International do in fact belong in a Nevada courtroom. That is where the attack happened and where MGM has its headquarters. Eglet calls MGM’s rationale “obscure” and that the litigation “quite frankly verges on unethical.”
Attorney Craig Eiland is representing several victims out of Texas and he agrees with Eglet. In fact, Eiland told Las Vegas TV Station 8 that,
“MGM is trying to beat these people to the courthouse and declare that they have no rights…The proper venue for this is Nevada State Court, plain and simple, under the law.”
MGM Argues Federal Court is the Proper Place to Handle “Incidents of Mass Violence”
MGM Resorts Internation is making the argument that the case belongs in a Federal court because of the nature of the violence. Debra DeShong, spokesperson for MGM issued a statement Monday on behalf of MGM Resorts International. Although she did not mention the SAFETY Act by name, she did hint at it by referencing the Department of Homeland Security.
DeShong’s statement reads:
“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.”
Social Media is Outraged with MGM
The public is speaking, and speaking loudly. Social media has been ablaze with comments and post calling for no less than the boycott of all MGM resort International properties.
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