MGM Resorts International is one of seven defendants named in numerous lawsuits filed this week by attorneys representing more than 450 victims of the October 1 Las Vegas shooting.
Five new cases have been filed, including two wrongful death suits for the families of victims Christopher Roybal and Rocio Guillen-Jaksha. Lawsuits for Kristina Staples, who was shot in the head and remained in a coma for weeks, and Paige Gasper, who had her liver lacerated by a bullet, were also filed.
The fifth is a lawsuit on behalf of 450 victims who were injured in the attack. The law firms representing the plaintiffs are both based in Houston.
In addition to MGM Resorts International, the defendants include Mandalay Bay, the MGM-owned property from which Stephen Paddock fired upon the crowd below, MGM Festival Grounds LLC, which owns the Route 91 Harvest concert venue, Live Nation Entertainment and ONENATIONGROUP, the concert organizers and promoters, and Contemporary Services Corporation, the on-site security contractor. Paddock’s $5 million estate is additionally named.
The lawsuits were filed in Los Angeles, where attorneys believe they can find more impartial juries than in Las Vegas, where the crimes occurred.
“There would be certain advantages for MGM to defend its case in Nevada,” filing attorney Chad Pinkerton told the Associated Press.
Many of the victims are California residents, and according to Pinkerton, “most all” continue to receive some sort of medical care there. Being Nevada’s largest employer with over 70,000 workers, finding an unbiased jury free of some sort of relationship to MGM Resorts would prove difficult, if not impossible, Pinkerton opined.
Inadequate Protection Alleged
The five lawsuits follow a wave of other cases filed last week in Clark County court. Law firms representing 14 other victims brought lawsuits that named the aforementioned defendants, plus Slide Fire Solutions, the manufacturer of the bump stock accessory Paddock used to transform his high-powered rifles into nearly automatic weapons.
The general theme of the lawsuits is that the defendants failed to adequately protect concertgoers. The accusations range from MGM’s alleged lapse in monitoring the activities of its guests, to Live Nation failing to clearly mark emergency exits and train staff for such an incident.
“This was the largest venue security failure in US history,” Pinkerton concluded. “We know in this day and age that evil does happen, and we have to protect against that.”
The Las Vegas shooting is expected to cost insurers upwards of $1 billion, as companies will be paying out on life and ongoing healthcare policies, as well as liability coverages for companies like MGM and Live Nation.
MGM CEO Jim Murren said recently that the company won’t be on the hook for legal settlements, and that’s likely true, as long as juries don’t find the casino operator’s actions leading up to the shooting (or lack thereof) were in any way criminal.
Proving fault against defendants other than the perpetrator come with slim odds for the plaintiffs. But Pinkerton says he believes he can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the worst mass shooting in modern US history could have been prevented.