Chicago lawyers representing victims of the mass shooting that claimed more than 50 lives last October in Las Vegas, Nevada, say their clients have now been “targeted twice” following lawsuits filed this week by MGM Resorts International.
The Vegas-based entertainment company is suing hundreds of victims, arguing it should not be held liable in any way for the deaths of 58 concertgoers or for injuries sustained by more than 500 others in what remains the most deadly mass shooting in recent American history.
Gunman Stephen Paddock, 64, opened fire at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival on Oct. 1, 2017 from his 32nd-floor hotel room at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino on the Las Vegas Strip.
MGM, which owns and operates both the casino and the nearby concert grounds, says it should be protected from liability by federal law because the security team used at the concert had been certified by the Department of Homeland Security.
The firm of Romanucci & Blandin, a River North-based civil law practice that represents more than a dozen victims of the shooting, is calling MGM’s suit “reprehensible.”
“Every victim of this tragedy has now been targeted twice,” attorney Antonio Romanucci said in a statement Wednesday. “The evidence we’ve seen thus far clearly indicates that MGM had a hand in contributing to the 58 victim deaths and to the thousands more still suffering from severe injuries that will take years to overcome, if ever.”
MGM’s case relies on the Support Anti-Terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies Act, or SAFETY Act, which provides legal liability protections to groups that deploy DHS-certified “anti-terrorism technologies.”
Because the Contemporary Services Corporation – the professional security company used at the Route 91 festival – meet those guidelines, MGM argues it should be protected from liability stemming from the shooting.
“If defendants were injured by Paddock’s assault, as they allege, they were inevitably injured both because Paddock fired from his window and because they remained in the line of fire at the concert,” MGM states in its complaint. “Such claims inevitably implicate security at the concert – and may result in loss to CSC.”
The complaint claims Paddock’s attack “satisfies the requirements of the SAFETY Act” and states no MGM party “attempted to commit, knowingly participated in, aided, abetted, committed or participated” in any criminal act or conspiracy to commit terrorism related to the shooting.
They seek a judicial declaration that “Plaintiffs have no liability of any kind” to any victims.
The suit is specifically aimed at victims who have either threatened to sue MGM or have filed suit and since voluntarily withdrawn their case. Romanucci & Blandin has filed lawsuits on behalf of 14 victims.
“We remain steadfast in our commitment to holding accountable each and every institution and individual who played a part in this unthinkable act of violence,” Romanucci said, “and we will do whatever we can to be a voice for the victims and their families as we seek to institute real reforms to prevent atrocities like this in the future.”