Citing 2002 federal law, MGM Resorts names Las Vegas shooting victims in suit

MGM Resorts, which operates the Mandalay Bay hotel casino in Las Vegas, has invoked a law passed by Congress in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks to ask for a ruling that it is not liable to more than 1,000 victims of the Oct. 1, 2017, massacre during which a gunman in a Mandalay Bay room killed 58 people and injured nearly 500. The Support Anti-Terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies (SAFETY) Act of 2002 limits claims against some makers of security equipment and sends lawsuits against such firms by terror victims to federal court. According to a critic, MGM is taking a broad view of the law’s provisions, claiming its protection because it employed a security vendor with SAFETY Act certification and because the shooting was an act of “mass violence.” The U.S. Department of Homeland Security “has not designated the Las Vegas shooting a terrorist attack.”

The use of declaratory judgment and similar processes, familiar from fields like insurance law, can lead to public relations damage, especially if aimed at parties minding their own business who had not filed a claim or action and might never have done so. It is not clear from coverage how many of the 1,000+ persons named in MGM’s legal filings had evinced no intent to file claims or suits; a suit against MGM was filed last November on behalf of 450 victims. [Jason Tashea, ABA Journal; Rachel Crosby, Las Vegas Review-Journal] More: Howard Wasserman on jurisdiction.


  • Aren’t there some jurisdictional issues? If I go to a concert in Las Vegas, am I subject to the Nevada courts’ general jurisdiction if that’s my only real contact with Nevada? With respect to specific jurisdiction, if I had no connection with MGM Grand, how does specific jurisdiction obtain–generally, there has to be some sort act etc. And passively attending a concert doesn’t get that done.

  • This is reminiscent of people suing airlines for 9/11. I think they are suing to head that off at the pass.

    I heard a spokeswoman on CNN for the current suit on behalf of 450 victims. She actually snorted (laughed) when asked if this was really foreseeable on the part of the hotel. Yet, she offered no evidence that the hotel could have known, except that bellboys helped the shooter with some of his bags.

    There is one person responsible for the shootings, and that’s the shooter. The victims should sue the estate and leave everyone else alone.

    • John Rohan, I agree with you 100%. The liability incurred for the independent, criminal acts of third parties is shocking and disgraceful.

      When I argued this in law school 40 years ago I was regarded as loony or heartless The unspoken reasoning behind the objections was “Hey, that’s cutting in on our future livelihood”.