MGM is Suing the Victims of the Las Vegas Mass Shooting

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

MGM Resorts International does not want to be held liable by the victims of 2017 shooting in Las Vegas that killed 58 people and injured over 850 more so, to that end, they've filed a lawsuit against the victims and their families.


A lawsuit against the victims of a shooting would be sleazy enough on its own, but MGM is trying to claim immunity under an obscure anti-terrorism law passed by Congress 16 years ago in 2002.

MGM Resorts International filed a complaint in federal court Monday in a case brought by victims of the Las Vegas massacre, asking a judge to declare the company has “no liability” for the attack. MGM owns the Mandalay Bay hotel-casino and the venue of the Route 91 Harvest music festival where Stephen Paddock opened fire, killing 58 and injuring more than 850. MGM argues that a post-9/11 law limits its liability and that the lawsuit brought by hundreds of victims “must be dismissed” because MGM’s security company was certified by the government. Robert Eglet, a lawyer representing several of the victims, told the Las Vegas Journal-Review that MGM’s filing “outrageous.”

More specifically, MGM is claiming that federal law should grant them immunity because the security company they hired to manage the event where the shooting took place has been certified by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to respond to acts of terrorism. MGM is arguing that they should be granted immunity alongside the security company because they hired the company.

This all may seem outrageous and ridiculous at face value, but it gets better.

MGM says this is in the best interest of the victims.

"The Federal Court is an appropriate venue for these cases and provides those affected with the opportunity for a timely resolution," Debra DeShong, a spokeswoman for MGM, said in a statement to the Review-Journal. "Years of drawn out litigation and hearings are not in the best interest of victims, the community and those still healing."

I have to assume that MGM has calculated that public backlash for suing the victims will cost them less than settling with the victims, but they could end up paying for both.

You know, stricter gun laws would be a lot cheaper than any of this. Victims are suing MGM because they can't sue the gunmakers. The financial losses from America's gun violence have been socialized.

  • MadJuana

    This kind of disgusting behavior has been favored for I don’t know how long; socialize the risk, privatize the profit.

  • Aynwrong

    So basically MGM is behaving exactly like the gun manufacturing industry and forcing the loved ones of the victims to suffer even more. This is the America that Republicans have fought so long and hard for.

    Does this seem to anyone else like the kind of tactic that might be suggested by A.L.E.C. (American Legislative Exchange Council )?

  • gescove

    Alice, we are through the looking glass.

  • muselet

    The Las Vegas Review-Journal did a good job on the story, including this tidbit:

    The act cited in the new lawsuits was passed just more than a year after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and intentionally included broad protections. For instance, the act defines terrorism as any unlawful act inside the United States that causes “mass destruction, injury or other loss.”

    The FBI has not called the Las Vegas mass shooting an act of terrorism because the gunman had no clear motive, and the FBI defines terrorism as an act of terror associated with extremist ideologies of a political, religious, social, racial or environmental nature.

    I am not a lawyer and I do not play one on TV, so take this with as many grains of salt as you need, but it seems to me that disconnect between definitions is something that needs to be addressed. I’m a bit surprised no one has litigated the question befoere.

    That said, what MGM Resorts International is doing is disgusting. Bad enough it’s claiming immunity based on hiring a DHS-certified company for security at the concert (it wasn’t Contemporary Services Corp that failed to notice someone ferrying an arsenal into a guest room, it was the Mandalay Bay’s in-house security), but the “we’re suing the victims because it’s better for them” line is one of the reasons herpes polls more favorably than lawyers.

    It’s at times like this I’m glad I don’t gamble and dislike Las Vegas.


    • ninjaf

      Last time we went to Vegas, we stayed at an AirBnB. We’ll do that again (or a VRBO) if we ever go back and at least that way we won’t be giving dollars to MGM.