There was another round of backlash against MGM Resorts Monday as a group of 1 October victims spoke out about the lawsuits the company files against them.
8 News Now has learned that in the past 10 days, MGM Resorts International has filed nine complaints declaratory relief in eight states. That comes out to nearly 2,000 people who are named as defendants as the company seeks relief from liability and to consolidate all of the claims into one and move litigation to federal court.
“I couldn’t help anybody,” said Jason McMillan, shooting victim.
The memories are too fresh — too painful for many of the Route 91 Harvest Festival shooting survivors.
“I was on the ground, and I felt like I was getting electrocuted, my whole body was just shaking,” he said.
“It was the longest drive home, trying to figure out how I’m going to talk to my kids and how I’m going to tell them what happened,” said Brian Ahlers, wife killed at concert.
These survivors, in southern California, sharing their stories from the night of the tragedy and sharing outrage after being named in a federal lawsuit by MGM.
“I mean I’m going through all of this, and still going through this, and to find out that this huge company, MGM Resorts, is suing me. I mean, how do you deal with that?” Ahlers said.
After the victims spoke, MGM Resorts International Vice President Debra DeShong reiterated its position, saying in a statement:
“It is heartbreaking to hear these personal accounts of an unspeakable tragedy. We grieve with all of the victims […]”
“We believe Congress determined these cases should be in federal court and that getting everyone in the same court, is the best and fastest way to resolve these cases.”
The MGM is not seeking any money from the victims, instead it is seeking relief from liability citing the Safety Act and to consolidate claims into one federal case.
“They’re trying to force jurisdiction into federal court, where this case doesn’t belong, it’s not the proper right jurisdiction for it, and they’re trying to intimidate these people,” said Robert Eglet, represents 1 October victims.
He argues federal protections only apply to the security company inside the concert venue.
“guess what, the security breakdown was not at the concert venue, the security breakdown was at the Mandalay Bay, where their security was woefully insufficient,” Eglet said.
Major differences in opinion by both sides that likely won’t be resolved anytime soon. These are questions that are very simple on the surface — like who’s liable and who’s protected by which sets of laws, but the answers are very complicated and will be determined by the courts. 8 News Now has not been able to find a case where the federal Safety Act has been used to shield liability in a similar situation. Several attorneys for the victims say this could be a precedent-setting case if it moves forward.