MGM Resorts challenges the proceedings of Vegas shooting victims
The company denies liability in the first real test for the federal law created after the 9/11 attacks; Bob Maasiai breaks the legal battle.
MGM Resorts International on Tuesday offered to survivors of the Las Vegas mass shooting, the option of having the money that would be used to serve them in a lawsuit will be donated to a charity instead, drawing rebuke from victims’ lawyers.
The company filed lawsuits against more than 1,900 victims of the Oct. 1 mass shooting in July in an effort to avoid years of costly litigation.
MGM has been working to notify the victims under a 90-day period. The casino operator has told victims of lawyers who prefer to make charitable donations than spend the money to have people to serve the legal notices.
“The money spent on personal service of process — up to $250 per person — can be better targeted to do some affirmative good,” MGM’s attorneys wrote in the letter shared with The Associated Press.
For every person who is remotely operated, or authorize an attorney to accept legal notices, MGM will make a $500 donation to a charity in his or her name, which supports survivors or family of victims killed.
If the bid is not accepted, MGM “personally, the complaints courteously and respectfully,” said MGM spokeswoman Debra DeShong.
Letters explaining the offer was sent to the 37 lawyers of the victims.
Robert Eglet, a part of a group that most of the victims, said that the company is trying to “spin” his attempt to save money on the operation of the legal notices.
“It costs the MGM significantly more than $250, to serve them,” Eglet said. “This is just more outrageous behavior from them.”
The companies represent the vast majority of the victims are not authorised to accept legal notices, Eglet said, that would leave MGM with the task of serving each of the 1,977 people indicted.
When a lawsuit is filed, the defendant is served a copy of the complaint against them and they have 21 days to respond.
The suit comes nearly a year after a gunman killed 58 people injured and more than 800 of his 32nd-floor suite of the MGM-owned Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. More than 22,000 people were at the outdoor location for a country music festival.
The company is trying a federal judge in the rule that it is not liable for survivors or families of victims killed under a law enacted after the Sept. 11 attacks.
Under the law, liability is limited when a company or group makes use of the services approved by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. MGM argues that it is free of responsibility, because the security vendor at the festival, the federal government certified at the time of the attack.
The Associated Press contributed to this report