MGM Resorts International, the global hospitality company that owns the hotel that the Las Vegas shooter used to kill 58 innocent men and women and hurt 851 others on October 1, 2017, has agreed to pay up to $800 million to victims of the mass tragedy.
Victims are expected to receive their share of the payment by no later than the end of 2020.
“MGM Resorts International and counsel representing substantially all plaintiffs … have reached a settlement agreement to resolve pending lawsuits involving MGM Resorts regarding these matters,” the 33-year-old company announced in a press release Thursday.
“The total settlement amount is expected to be between $735 million and $800 million, subject to and depending on the number of claimants who choose to participate in the settlement. The entire process is expected to be completed by late 2020.”
MGM will pay between $735 million and $800 million to resolve pending lawsuits involving the October 1, 2017 shooting at the Mandalay Bay. https://t.co/PstFNitjyJ The settlement fund will be funded by MGM Resorts’ insurers with a minimum of $735 million.
— Antoine Gara (@AntoineGara) October 3, 2019
The last-minute settlement marked the end of what had been an unprecedented legal battle. While it’s typical for lawsuits to be filed after a mass shooting, both the number of lawsuits filed in this case and MGM’s stunning countersuits were distinctly unique.
“Faced with potentially hundreds of lawsuits, MGM sued more than 1,000 victims in July 2018, in an aggressive but untested strategy to short-circuit the cases and shield itself from liability,” The New York Times notes.
To be clear, the company didn’t seek financial compensation from the victims. It simply wanted a federal court to clear it of liability.
“MGM contends that under the law, which Congress passed in 2002, it is immunized from liability because it met two conditions: A security company that was hired for the concert had a certification from the Department of Homeland Security, and the shooting qualified, in the company’s view, as an ‘act of terrorism,'” the Times originally reported.
The countersuits nevertheless provoked mass outrage.
I think this story, where the #MGM Resorts International is preemptively suing the victims of Stephen Paddock’s mass murder, is one of the saddest stories I’ve read in a long time.
— Breakdances With Wolves Podcast = Baby Makin Music (@BigIndianGyasi) July 18, 2018
DISGUSTING -> MGM Resorts Sues 1,000 Victims of #LasVegas Shooting, So they can avoid liability https://t.co/3SiK0QavMk Welp, they just lost future business from me! MGM, why don’t you stand up for victims & be responsible that YOU let a gunman in your hotel! #travel
— adventuregirl (@adventuregirl) July 18, 2018
So @MGMResortsIntl you’re suing my close friends who were there and experienced untold heartache and tragedy? You can bet I along with millions of my closets friends will be boycotting your properties. https://t.co/fGfeVlii2e
— donna_reina (@donna_reina) July 18, 2018
What @MGMResortsIntl is doing is appalling. Imagine you’re a survivor/victim family member of the worst shooting in US history, and *you* get hit by a lawsuit, courtesy of the place where it happened. And their line is “we’re just trying to help”? https://t.co/OLxeXhKvzO
— Latina On Purpose ? (@LatinaOnPurpose) July 18, 2018
— Lynn Manyfires (@LynnManyFires) July 18, 2018
If you want to #BoycottMGM then here’s a helpful list of the resorts they own.
– Bellagio, Aria, VDARA at Aria, MGM Grand, The Signature at MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, Delano Las Vegas, Park MGM, The Mirage, New York-New York, Luxor, Excalibur, Circus Circus (Las Vegas, NV)
— Alessia Modjarrad (@aamodjarrad) July 17, 2018
Their anger was palpable and may have also been effective. In its first major financial statement of the year, MGM reported earnings so below Wall Street estimates that its stocks plummeted.
“MGM Resorts stock fell Tuesday morning after the company announced earnings well below Wall Street estimates. … MGM Resorts reported first-quarter adjusted earnings per share of 12 cents a share, well below the Wall Street consensus estimate of 23 cents,” Barron’s reported at the time.
The anger was also shared by the victims’ lawyer.
“It’s all about immunizing themselves from liability and staying out of state courts,” attorney Craig Eiland said to the Times. “They want to say that it does not matter how negligent MGM was.”
But now that MGM has finally bent the knee, their outrage appears to be evaporating.
“MGM Resorts is a valued member of the Las Vegas community and this settlement represents good corporate citizenship on their part. We believe that the terms of this settlement represent the best outcome for our clients and will provide the greatest good for those impacted by these events,” another attorney, Robert Eglet, said in a statement.
Jim Murren, the chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts, likewise issued his own statement — one that seemed somewhat disingenuous.
“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,” he said. “This agreement with the Plaintiffs’ Counsel is a major step, and one that we hoped for a long time would be possible.”
If that were true, why did MGM sue the victims?
“We have always believed that prolonged litigation around these matters is in no one’s best interest. It is our sincere hope that this agreement means that scenario will be avoided,” he added.
Some liberal social media users have responded to the settlement by arguing that the National Rifle Association should be made to pay, not MGM:
MGM pays, while the gun manufacturers and the NRA laugh all the way to the bank.
MGM Agrees to Pay Up to $800 Million to Victims of 2017 Las Vegas Massacre https://t.co/kyksyumqXp
— Kent Jensen (@KentJensen27) October 3, 2019
Money does not bring solace to the dead. When you can’t go to a concert without fearing for your life- we live in #Trumpswamplandia where Wayne La Pierre says “cut the nonsense” to Trump about gun reform and he listens. https://t.co/NlwI2yBKVZ via @nytimes
— Barbara Malmet (@B52Malmet) October 3, 2019
MGM has to pay millions to mass shooting victims but the NRA, gun mfg, bump stock mfg, ammo mfg, RNC, and retail stores that made it possible pay nothing? How does this work? https://t.co/QoFNb4oYRf
— stop4chickens (@stop4chickens) October 4, 2019
— Richard Ray (@rray_yamabushi) October 3, 2019
— Steve Vanden Heuvel (@vandy1690) October 3, 2019
It’s unclear what the NRA has to do with the Las Vegas shooting.
To this day, the shooter’s motive still hasn’t been discerned.
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