LAS VEGAS (Legal Newsline) – Lawsuits won’t prevent mass shootings – they will only create a nanny state that still won’t deter the country’s sickest individuals from carrying out their attacks, says the owner of a Las Vegas resort where dozens were gunned down in 2017.
Facing litigation from those affected by the actions of Stephen Paddock - who fired on a concert attended by more than 20,000 people from his Mandalay Bay hotel room in October, killing almost 60 and injuring hundreds more– MGM Resorts has removed several cases to federal court and asked judges to dismiss them.
MGM, Mandalay Bay and other defendants are accused of negligence that aided Paddock, who shot himself in his hotel room before police could reach him.
“Shifting liability will not bring an end to the scourge of mass shootings,” says the motion, filed June 29. “Paddock’s crime occurred despite, not because of, the efforts of Defendants’ employees – many of whom were its victims.”
If property owners were responsible for the acts of unpredictable criminals like Paddock, entire industries could be crippled by the threat of liability, the motion says.
That would lead to “endless TSA-style bag searches, body searches, intrusive video recording (and) unannounced car and room inspections,” the motion says.
“Such measures violate the most basic privacy rights of innocent people; and such measures would fail to prevent determined criminals with easy access to violent assault weapons from turning those weapons on innocent victims going about their lives, at social occasions as old as history: musical performances, churches, theaters, stores, parks, schools and every other public place and occasion.”
Paddock placed a baby monitor on a service cart outside of his room at the Mandalay Bay in the days leading up to his attack. He had purchased dozens of firearms in the previous year, and police found 24 guns in his room after the attack.
At one point, he shot an unarmed hotel security guard who had found the door to the hallway on Paddock’s floor screwed shut.
Complaints, like the one filed by concert-goers Olga Ramirez and Justin Bowles, blame hotel defendants, like MGM and Mandalay, and venue defendants, like MGM Resorts Festival Grounds and Live Nation, for Paddock’s attack.
It’s unclear exactly how many lawsuits MGM and Mandalay are facing. Federal court records show one pending in Nevada federal court and three in Los Angeles federal court, with a couple of others having already been voluntarily dismissed.
Most attorneys bringing lawsuits are located in California, like Engstrom Lipscomb and Lack, Vititoe Law Group, Singleton Law Firm, Chambers and Noronha, John R. Mayer, Scott Schlegel and Farris Ain.
Other firms include Eglet Prince of Las Vegas, Hilliard Martinez Gonzales of Corpus Christi, Texas, and Gallagher & Kennedy of Phoenix.
The hotel defendants are alleged to have failed to properly surveil people coming and going from the hotel, monitor the premises with closed-circuit television, respond to the shooting of a security officer, notice the delivery of guns to Paddock’s hotel room, notice Paddock’s surveillance he used outside his hotel room, prevent the breaking of Paddock’s hotel room windows and train employees how to report suspicious individuals.
The venue defendants are alleged to have failed to provide and mark emergency exits and train employees to respond to foreseeable events “such as a terrorist attack or other emergency.”
The defendants say it would be “unprecedented” for liability for the shooting to be imposed on them.
It “would throw out established tort law and saddle businesses across the country with crippling liability for the evil acts of madmen – acts those businesses can, in the end, neither foresee nor prevent.”
The motion to dismiss cites decisions reached in negligence lawsuits over shootings in Colorado – Columbine, Aurora and a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood – and at a California McDonald’s.
“These courts held that there is no premises liability where, as Plaintiffs here concede, a third party carried out a cold, calculated plan of extreme lethal violence,” the motion says.
“Such a crime – stunning, inexplicably sadistic, arising from some unknown place in a deranged mind – is unforeseeable as a matter of law and breaks any possible chain of legal causation.”
From Legal Newsline: Reach editor John O’Brien at firstname.lastname@example.org