MGM Resorts Is Suing Victims of the Las Vegas Shooting to Avoid Liability

In a move one lawyer called "outrageous."

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Jul 17 2018, 4:32pm

Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images.

MGM is taking legal steps to ensure it's not held liable for the Las Vegas massacre that left 58 dead and 851 injured after a gunman open fired on a country music festival from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay. The resort's parent company, MGM Resorts International, filed a federal complaint on Friday against more than 1,000 victims, arguing that it can't be sued for injuries or damages that stemmed from the October attack, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports.

As the Review-Journal points out, the complaint doesn't seek money from victims, but instead argues that the company can't be held responsible because the security team it hired for the Route 91 music festival had been approved by the Department of Homeland Security to respond "to acts of mass injury and destruction." Citing the 2002 SAFETY Act, it argues the company isn't liable because it employed a service specifically certified to prevent "mass violence."

"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," MGM spokesperson Debra DeShong wrote in a statement. "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."

If a federal judge determines that MGM is protected under the 2002 act, victims won't be able to file future civil suits against the company, and the nearly 250 lawsuits already filed will be dismissed, CBS affiliate 8 News Now reports.

"I’ve never seen a more outrageous thing, where they sue the victims in an effort to find a judge they like," Robert Eglet, a Las Vegas attorney representing some of the victims, told the Review-Journal. "It’s just really sad that they would stoop to this level."

Since the October 1 shooting, local law enforcement has worked alongside the FBI to try to pin down a motive for Stephen Paddock's attack. Authorities discovered that Paddock, who ultimately committed suicide, had an arsenal of guns at his home and liked to gamble, but haven't been able to give victims' families a clear answer as to why he orchestrated the attack. According to the Review-Journal, the FBI doesn't currently classify the massacre as an act of terrorism.

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