Las Vegas shooting victims: MGM Resorts need to pay settlement up to $800M

LAS VEGAS – MGM Resorts International and lawyers representing victims and families in the Las Vegas shooting rampage that killed 58 people and wounded hundreds in 2017 reached a settlement deal that could total $800 million.

The hotel giant and lawyers for the plaintiffs issued a statement saying the total settlement amount is expected to be $735 million to $800 million, depending on the number of people who elect to participate. Lawyers hope to complete the deal, which could involve thousands of people, by late 2020.

Tuesday marked two years since Stephen Paddock fired into the crowd of 22,000 from the 32nd floor of Mandalay Bay hotel, owned by MGM, for more than 10 minutes before taking his own life. Investigators never determined a motive for the attack, the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

“Our goal has always been to resolve these matters so our community and the victims and their families can move forward in the healing process,” said Jim Murren, CEO of MGM Resorts. “This agreement … is a major step, and one that we hoped for a long time would be possible.”

Murren said prolonged litigation was in no one’s best interest and the agreement should avoid that scenario.

‘You’re always with us’: Two years after Las Vegas shooting, community navigates loss
Robert Eglet, whose firm Eglet Adams represents almost 2,500 people in the case, said the deal marks a “milestone” in the recovery process of the families and the city. He lauded MGM for “good corporate citizenship” and said the deal was in the best interest of all involved.
“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,” Eglet said.

Still, the deal has a long way to go, said Carl Tobias, a professor at the University of Richmond School of Law in Virginia. Tobias, who is not involved in the case, said it is difficult to determine whether the settlement is fair because the details are not all available.
“For example, it is unclear how many of the plaintiffs who filed suit will agree to the settlement and what (they) will recover,” Tobias said. “However, the settlement may help many plaintiffs and hopefully will help to prevent future tragedies like this one.”

Los Angeles-based trial lawyer Neama Rahmani said the deal is good for the victims. He noted that a jury would probably have placed most of the blame on Paddock, which might have eased MGM’s liability.

“Had they pushed their case to trial, there is no guarantee that a jury would have found any liability on the part of MGM,” Rahmani said.

An independent administrator will be appointed by the court to allocate funds to those claimants who sign on to the deal. The settlement fund will be funded by MGM Resorts’ insurers with a minimum of $735 million, MGM said. The company said it has insurance coverage totaling $751 million.

Paddock was a wealthy, retired accountant who fired from a hotel room above the Route 91 Harvest festival, an outdoor concert packed with more than 22,000 revelers. More than 500 people were wounded by the barrage of more than 1,000 bullets and a chaotic stampede as the panicked crowd scrambled for cover.

Almost two dozen weapons, many of them rifles, were found inside Paddock’s hotel room. 

Richard Harris represents about 400 victims, some suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, trample injuries or gunshot wounds – and families of some who died. He lauded MGM for being a “good community partner” that plays a role in the everyday lives of thousands of Nevadans.

“This settlement will help people put their lives back together with ongoing medical care, lost earnings and counseling,” Harris said.

Lawyer Muhammad Aziz’s firm of Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Aziz represents more than 1,300 victims and survivors. Aziz was the first lawyer to file suit in the case and is part of the settlement.

“While we cannot eliminate the physical and emotional scars suffered by the thousands of people impacted by this tragic event, we hope this resolution will provide some sense of closure to our clients,” Aziz said. “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.”

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