Should People Sue MGM After Mass Shooting?

Should People Sue MGM After Mass Shooting?

Jeff German has an excellent article in the Review Journal about a recent Nevada Supreme Court case that may affect lawsuits against MGM Resorts International after the mass shooting in Las Vegas that occurred at their Mandalay Bay property and concert venue on October 1st. Worth a read.

No doubt the legal issues regarding liability in the case are complex. MGM Resorts, the victims and their respective families, and even the general public all have a stake in the outcome. Even so, there has been a rather large number of comments on social media accusing the people filing these lawsuits of being greedy.

Is it fair to say that suing MGM Resorts for something that was beyond their control is an act of greed?

Let’s be clear… it’s not anyone’s fault that a maniac decided to unload untold number of bullets on a crowd at a concert on the Las Vegas strip. Only the shooter bears that responsibility. However, that’s not what these lawsuits are about. These lawsuits are asking the question about whether venues that host thousands of people have a responsibility to ensure that they have adequate security, adequate exits and a plan at their venue should some untold circumstances arise, and whether or not those measures were adequate at Mandalay Bay and the adjacent concert venue on October 1st. Could reasonable measures have saved lives? These are all important questions that need to be settled within the legal system.

It’s been reported that people at the Route 91 Harvest music festival didn’t know which direction to run once the shooting started. Many people ran into fences and were trapped. Pandemonium is a word that’s been used to describe the scene. Could any of these conditions been better thought out? These facts will have to be examined and a judge/jury will have to decide whether or not there was negligence. Alternatively, the plaintiffs and defendants will have to settle out of court, as was the case in the MGM fire in the 1980s.

There will be many arguments about how prepared security was at Mandalay Bay, and we will have to wait to see those arguments. Could they have known the shooter was taking all those weapons and munitions into his room?

The RJ article notes that these are questions that will be asked as these proceedings go forward:

— Were employees properly trained to raise suspicions about the “Do Not Disturb” sign left on his door for days?
— Did Mandalay Bay have enough security on hand the night of the shooting and an emergency plan to deal with it?
— Who was watching video surveillance cameras?
— Were there enough cameras?
— Were Mandalay Bay security officers armed?
— Why did the timeline for when Mandalay Bay security officer Jesus Campos was shot change so many times?
— Did anyone hear the shooter breaking the windows in his 32nd-floor suite before he opened fire?
— How was the shooter able to leave his own video surveillance cameras on a food service cart without anyone discovering them before the shooting?

Bottom line: it’s in all of our interests to ensure that large companies are held to appropriate standards in protecting their patrons from danger. It’s no different from holding GMC to standards in vehicle safety. It may not be GMC’s fault that you got into an accident… but if their air bag fails, they are still held accountable… otherwise they won’t correct the problems.

How Fair Will Trials Be In Nevada?

There have been some interesting concerns raised about the political influence of MGM, and the large amount of money they donate to judges in this state, which does at least raise questions about fairness, especially as one attorney put it, when it comes to the close calls. It’s one of the challenges of having judicial elections. This is one of those scenarios that makes you think about it.

MGM is a vital player in our local economy, they do amazing things in our community and they treat their employees well.  That said, no one should be above accountability. These lawsuits are measures of checks and balances, not frivolous or acts of greed. The best one can hope for is that a fair arrangement will be made for all concerned, and that what we learn from this horrific event will help prevent or minimize them in the future.

Justin McAffee

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