Friday, July 20, 2018
Why the MGM lawsuit is wrong on multiple levels
By now many people have read with varying degrees of dismay that MGM (and a number of related companies) has decided to file a lawsuit seeking to limit any liability it may have as a result of the deadly massacre carried out by a lunatic during the Route 91 concert. Stephen Paddock, the gunman, stayed at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino and shot at concert-goers from a 32nd-floor window of the resort on Oct 1. 2017, killing 58 people and injuring hundreds more. In November 2017, 100's sued MGM and Live Nation, claiming negligence.
What is the lawsuit about? The 57 page complaint lays it out. After identifying the Plaintiffs, the lawyers for them allege:
Named as defendants in this case are Claimants who have brought lawsuits (which they subsequently voluntarily dismissed) against the MGM Parties, alleging claims arising from Paddock’s attack, and persons who, through counsel, have threatened to bring such claims against the MGM Parties.
There is no pending litigation between Plaintiffs and Defendants relating to the attack. (Para 273).
The Plaintiffs have attempted to utilize the SAFETY Act. According to the Complaint:
[Citing 6 U.S.C. §442(a)] the SAFETY Act expressly provides for original and exclusive federal jurisdiction over actions arising from or relating to acts of mass violence where technologies or services certified by the Secretary of Homeland Security were deployed. At the time of Paddock’s mass attack at the Route 91 concert, security services were provided by Contemporary Services Corporation as the Security Vendor for the Route 91 Harvest Festival. CSC’s security services were certified by the Secretary of Homeland Security under the SAFETY Act. (Para. 268).
The SAFETY Act created liability limitations for claims resulting from an act of terrorism where Qualified AntiTerrorismTechnologies (QATTs) have been deployed.
Lawyers not linked with the case have claimed that law was intended to shield manufacturers of security equipment—such as airplane doors and metal detectors—under the cloak of U.S. sovereign immunity and by potentially capping damages.
Was it terrorism? No. "When asked if authorities believed the massacre to be an act of terrorism, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo said, “No, not at this point ..."(2017)
In January of this year, the LVMPD issued a preliminary report. The initial conclusion? This was not an act of terrorism. From the report:
Paddock acted alone. Thousands of hours of digital media were reviewed and after all the interviews conducted, no evidence exists to indicate Paddock conspired with or acted in collusion with anybody else. This includes video surveillance, recovered DNA19and analysis of cellular phones and computers belonging to Paddock.
* No suicide note or manifesto was found. Of all the evidence collected from rooms 32-135 and 32-134, there was no note or manifesto stating Paddock’s intentions. The only handwritten documentation found in either room was the small note indicating measurements and distances related to the use of rifles.
* There was no evidence of radicalization or ideology to support any theory that Paddock supported or followed any hate groups or any domestic or foreign terrorist organizations. Despite numerous interviews with Paddock’s family, acquaintances and gambling contacts, investigators could not link Paddock to any specific ideology.
The law enforcement agency assigned to this tragedy cannot come to the conclusion that the violence was terrorism. This report was issued nearly six months prior to the MGM filing.
What has the Department of Homeland Security said? Well, they haven't said it's terrorism:
DHS Statement on Las Vegas Shooting