MGM Resorts International Reach Third-Largest Settlement Ever With Victims of October 2017 Las Vegas Mass Shooting, The Deadliest in U.S. History
MGM Resorts, Nevada’s largest private employer, have agreed to a settlement worth up to $800 million for victims and families of the infamous October 2017 shooting in Las Vegas. The massacre, which occurred during the Route 91 Harvest music festival on the city’s Strip, killed 58 people and injured hundreds. The settlement agreement represents a resolution between the company’s and the plaintiffs’ counsel’s mediation efforts. The total settlement, anticipated to be between $735 million and $800 million, will hinge on the number of claimants who choose to participate. The settlement represents the earliest stages of a process which is expected to not be entirely completed until late 2020.
In accordance with the settlement agreement, the participating parties agree to dismiss and release all pending litigation against MGM Resorts, including additional parties named in those claims. This also includes the declaratory-relief actions filed by MGM Resorts. MGM Resorts have stated that the proposed settlement is not, and should not be viewed as, an admission of liability. More than 50 percent of the victims in the lawsuits are said to be from California and Nevada, with victims from at least eight other states also included.
In the coming months an independent claims administrator will be appointed by the court. The administrator will be responsible for allocating the settlement fund, estimated to be the third-largest ever of its kind, among the participating claimants. The settlement fund will be covered on behalf of insurance companies for MGM Resorts’ at a minimum of $735 million. MGM Resorts is said to have secured insurance coverage of over $751 million.
It should be noted that although approximately 4,400 individuals currently have claims against MGM Resorts International, that figure does not include all victims affected by the mass shooting. The three primary attorneys — Robert Eglet of Eglet Adams Law Offices, Catherine Lombardo of the Lombardo Law Firm, and Mo Aziz of Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Aziz — representing the group of 4,400 victims have acknowledged that a number of additional lawsuits from non-participating parties who have chosen to holdout also exist. Despite the holdouts, according to The Associated Press, attorney Eglet stated to reporters last week that the “short answer” is everything is settled, and that the agreement resolves “substantially all” of the lawsuits filed.
During a public statement last week, Eglet stated that, “While nothing will be able to bring back the lives lost or undo the horrors so many suffered on that day, this settlement will provide fair compensation for thousands of victims and their families.” He added that, “We believe that the terms of this settlement represent the best outcome for our clients and will provide the greatest good for those impacted by these events.”
Attorney Aziz concurred, noting that, “In this era of mass shootings, this settlement sends a strong message to the hospitality industry that all steps necessary to prevent mass shootings must be taken.”
The settlement agreement represents significant progress between MGM International and the victims. Just last year, MGM was entrenched in aggressively maintaining the position that they would be pursuing action to avoid liability by countersuing victims, citing a federal law passed following the September 11th attacks in 2001. That particular law encouraged companies to utilize anti-terrorism security technology without fear of being held responsible for damages in the event of a terrorist attack on a grand scale. MGM’s move, however, was met with extreme disapproval from the public.
In time, in what many feel was the result of the public backlash experienced, MGM reversed its stance. Chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts, Jim Murren, stated that MGM had actually hoped a settlement deal would be reached for some time. Murren elaborated by releasing a statement expressing how “prolonged litigation around these matters is in no one’s best interest. It is our sincere hope that this agreement means that scenario will be avoided.” However, as stated previously, Murren was quick to note that the deal was in no way an admission of any wrongdoing on the part of MGM.
Following the deadly shooting, which was carried out via firing automatic rifles equipped with rapid-fire bump stocks from a high story window, the gunman, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, was found dead in his hotel room from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Currently federal investigators have still not been able to identify any motive for Paddock’s actions.
–Lack of Repercussions Affecting Gun Manufacturers:
Despite indicating some sense of satisfaction in the settlement agreement, attorney Eglet expressed frustration in a separate but related matter. Said frustration on the part of Eglet is regarding a federal law passed in 2005 that prohibits gun and ammunition manufacturers, distributors, and others from being held liable when firearms are used in crimes.
Eglet went so far as to call for a repeal of the law, and a ban on assault-style automatic weapons, pointedly asking in a public statement, “Why do the gun manufacturers get a free ride?” Additionally, Eglet actually acknowledged that, “MGM, to a certain extent, is a victim because if the gun manufacturer didn’t have immunity, that would have been the focus of these lawsuits.”
–About the Attorneys Representing the Las Vegas Mass Shooting Victims:
Eglet Adams, who represented nearly 2.500 of the 4,400 plaintiffs, is regarded as a preeminent Nevada mass tort, catastrophic, and class action law firm.
The Lombardo Law Firm, which represented over 1,000 victims, is based in Claremont, California, and specializes exclusively in accident and injury cases.
Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Aziz are based in Houston, Texas, specializing in personal injury law, wrongful death suits, and business litigation. They are said to be the “oldest plaintiffs’ law firm in Texas,” according to their website.
Additional firms representing victims include Robinson Calcagnie, Inc. based in Newport Beach, California, and Panish Shea & Boyle LLP, of Los Angeles. Mark P. Robinson, Jr., Esq. is the lead attorney representing victims on behalf of Robinson Calcagnie, Inc.
Kevin R. Boyle is the lead attorney representing victims on behalf of Panish Shea & Boyle LLP.