Some of the 1,000-plus victims of the worst mass shooting in American history are likely to be sued by the hotel where the shooter performed his murderous act.
MGM Resorts, which owns both the Mandalay Bay Hotel, where shooter Stephen Paddock aimed at his victims from the 32nd floor, and the Route 91 Harvest festival, filed lawsuits against the victims of the shooting, arguing that a 2002 federal law protects them from liability against their own pending lawsuits.
That law grants immunity to companies that use anti-terror technology to prevent mass violence. Using that law in their defense would move the matter to a federal court, a strategy that some experts have suggested amounts to judge shopping.
“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 lawyer working on behalf of some of the victims, said. "It’s just really sad that they would stoop to this level.”
Nearly 60 individuals were killed in the mass shooting last fall. It was the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history and caused many individuals to rethink their positions on gun ownership.
MGM, of course, is entitled to use whatever defense is necessary to protect their interests. But as Eglet points out, this seems like a blatant case of judge shopping.
It may, in fact, backfire; the FBI has not yet declared Paddock’s actions a terrorist attack, although many people would be hard-pressed not to describe it as such.
Is MGM liable for the deaths and injuries of individuals at its Mandalay Bay Hotel and Route 91 Harvest festival? That should be up to a court to decide. But a court should hear the case, and not dismiss so easily the grievances of the victims.