1 October shooting: Finding liability; several parties face lawsuits


When Attorney Michael Cristalli was asked about who’s likely to face a lawsuit over the deadly mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, his answer was pretty broad.

According to Cristalli, because the investigation is ongoing, a wide net will be cast.

“Everything is going to be looked at,” said Cristalli, a partner with Gentile, Cristalli, MIller, Armeni, Savarese Law firm.
“People are going to want answers; they’re going to want to know what could have been done, and then secondarily, what can be done going forward to make sure that this type of event never happens again.”

A fairly obvious focus for a lawsuit is shooter Stephen Paddock’s estate.  According to Cristalli, if that happens, a judge can freeze any assets related to paddock during litigation.

But there are more broad targets as well, such as MGMG Resorts International, event producer Live Nation, and bump stock manufacturers Slide Fire Solutions.  Anyone with a link to the shooting could be named in a lawsuit.

“The only thing a lawsuit can do is create change, and monetize the damages to those individuals that suffered the loss,” said Cristalli.

One notable example was the MGM Grand Hotel fire in 1980.  The deadly event brought sweeping changes in building code after hundreds of lawsuits filed equaled to a $138 million settlement.

The 1988 Pepcon explosion brought changes in chemical plant safety, along with a $171 million settlement.

After the 2007 Hepatitis C outbreak, settlements reached hundreds of millions of dollars.  Cristalli says he hopes things will change for the better following lawsuits surrounding the deadly Las Vegas shooting.

“That’s what can be achieved by pursuing these type of actions,” Cristalli said. 

One change that is already evident is that lawmakers have introduced bills to ban bump stocks like the ones installed on a dozen of the guns found in Paddock’s hotel suite.

The measures have bipartisan support.

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