MGM Suing Victims Of Las Vegas Massacre. Sounds About Right.
In what seems like a perfectly logical move where corporations are people, MGM International Resorts is suing all the victims of the Las Vegas massacre in federal court. But don't worry -- at least the company isn't seeking damages from them for its own corporate pain and suffering! Instead, the lawsuit is a maneuver to head off liability claims related to the mass shooting last October 1, as is only right and just. All they want is what's coming to them, like immunity from damages and some ill will from consumers, which will no doubt blow over eventually.
MGM owns both the Mandalay Bay hotel, from which the shooter launched his rampage, and the concert venue across the street where the bullets rained down on country music fans. In its lawsuit, the corporation names as defendants nearly 250 people who have filed lawsuits against it. (We don't think we've ever seen a lawsuit where the names of defendants took up three pages.)
The lawsuit claims MGM International Resorts should be immune from any liability in the shootings under a post-9/11, 2002 federal law that exempts manufacturers or providers of "anti-terrorism technology" from lawsuits. That law, the "Support Anti-Terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies Act" (or "SAFETY Act" -- we guess the "Y" is YOU! ), was passed with the intention of "creating systems of risk and litigation management," so companies would feel free to develop tech to defeat terrists, according to the Department of Homeland Security website:
The purpose of the Act is to ensure that the threat of liability does not deter potential manufacturers or sellers of effective anti-terrorism technologies from developing and commercializing technologies that could save lives.
MGM's attorneys argue that since the contracted security vendor for the Route 91 Harvest festival, Contemporary Services Corporation, has certification from DHS, then MGM is exempt from liability under the terms of the law. If a federal judge decides the SAFETY act applies, then all attempts to sue MGM would vanish in a puff of congressional good wishes for anti-terrorism providers. Plus, according to a statement from an MGM spokesperson, all that tiresome litigation would just get in the way of the healing:
The unforeseeable events of October 1st affected thousands of people in Las Vegas and throughout North America. From the day of this tragedy, we have focused on the recovery of those impacted by the despicable act of one evil individual [...] The Federal Court is an appropriate venue for these cases and provides those affected with the opportunity for a timely resolution. Years of drawn out litigation and hearings are not in the best interest of victims, the community and those still healing.
And especially not in the interests of MGM International Resorts.
It remains to be seen whether a federal judge will actually be convinced that having a DHS-approved security company at the concert really provides protection from a mass shooting, especially since the FBI hasn't actually determined the massacre to be terrorism as such -- or whether such a determination makes a difference. The lawsuit insists Congress definitely had gun aficionados shooting up crowds in mind when it decided to protect vendors of anti-terrorism technology following 9/11, duh:
One attorney who represents some of the plaintiffs suing the hotel chain, Robert Eglet, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal the lawsuit was nothing more than MGM trying to shop for a friendly venue:
MGM is a Nevada company, so any lawsuits belong in state court, Eglet said. He viewed the decision to file the complaints in federal court as a "blatant display of judge shopping" that "quite frankly verges on unethical."
"I've never seen a more outrageous thing, where they sue the victims in an effort to find a judge they like," he said. "It's just really sad that they would stoop to this level."
Yr Wonkette is no lawyer, but the very little bit of reading we've done seems to indicate the law has more to do with shielding, say, makers of metal detectors from liability for a hijacking than protecting a hotel that hired a security company to do crowd control, but we'll readily acknowledge we have no idea how this SAFETY dance will turn out.
The truly beautiful news in all of this is that Congress also ensured that none of the manufacturers of the semi-auto weapons, or the bump stocks that allowed the shooter to achieve a machine gun-like rate of fire, can face any liability at all. The death machines worked exactly as designed, so in no way were they defective.
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Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.