It’s been ten months since the shooting attack by Stephen Paddock at the Route 91 Harvest Country Festival in Las Vegas that killed 58 people and left another 500 wounded. It is still the deadliest shooting in U.S. history. Paddock opened fire from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel across the street from where the outdoor festival was happening the night of October 1, 2017. Now, MGM — the owner of the Mandalay Bay — is taking preemptive legal action against over 1,000 of the survivors to keep them from suing the company.
MGM is seeking a court declaration that they cannot be held responsible for any of the deaths, injuries or damages from the attack, claiming that 2,500 such lawsuits have already been threatened or filed against the company. They are citing a post-9/11 anti-terrorism law as a defense. The law is complex but MGM is essentially arguing that the liability for the event lies with the private security vendor hired by the venue and approved by the Department of Homeland Security, not with the hotel.
While they may have a legal argument, lawyers representing the victims were quick to point out the moral disparity in it. They called it “a stretch,” “outrageous,” and verging on “unethical.” Likewise, the public is completely opposed to a large multinational corporation suing the victims of a massacre, many of whom lost loved ones and had to experience the trauma of running for their lives while people around them were gunned down. Within a few minutes of the news breaking, the hashtag #BoycottMGMResorts had started gaining popularity.
Just cancelled our reservation and will be staying somewhere else for our family reunion this summer. Will not spend a dime at your casino. Your company suing VICTIMS of the mass shooting is beyond cold blooded! #BoycottMGMResorts
— BartholomewVaderwitz (@barth_vaderwitz) July 17, 2018
— Junk Man Dave (@MyJunkPile) July 17, 2018
Sorry, not buying it. I see a strategic legal move against people who were victimized on your property – an attempt to preemptively sidestep any possible culpability. That’s disgusting. I also see our family never patronizing your resorts again. #BoycottMGMResorts
— ❤🧡💛Catblossoms💚💙💜 (@catblossoms) July 18, 2018
That’s disgusting. #BoycottMGMResorts
Their Las Vegas properties:
New York-New York
Las Vegas Festival Fairgrounds
— 🕸Black Widow 2018💥 (@natasharesists) July 17, 2018
MGM Resorts made a statement clarifying their intentions with the lawsuits, saying they are not seeking money or legal fees from victims. Since the anti-terrorism law is federal, however, the chain is asking that the case be seen by a federal court rather than at the state level. Some have speculated that federal courts are also more likely to be sympathetic to a large company — this is Trump’s America, after all.
We have filed what is known as an action for declaratory relief. All we are doing, in effect, is asking for a change in venue from state to federal court. We are not asking for money or attorney’s fees. We only want to resolve these cases quickly, fairly and efficiently. pic.twitter.com/vecZkE7Aap
— MGM Resorts (@MGMResortsIntl) July 18, 2018
Still, it doesn’t look like people are buying MGM’s argument. The company probably should have seen this PR nightmare coming.
MGM Resorts is suing victims of the Mandalay Bay shooting to avoid liability?
This has to be an Onion story. This can’t be real.
Can any business seriously be that greedy and insensitive?#BoycottMGMResorts
— It’s getting hot in here (so hot) (@SethFromThe716) July 17, 2018
— Laura Lee Byrd (@LauraLeeByrd) July 17, 2018
If the MGM thinks it is appropriate to sue gun violence victims, then I will NEVER visit another MGM property for the rest of my life and I will encourage everyone I know, including my family and friends still in Vegas, to do the same.#BoycottMGMResorts #MGMResorts #mgm
— Dr. DaShanne Stokes (@DaShanneStokes) July 17, 2018