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For MGM Resorts International, millions of dollars could hinge on a single question: Was the shooting massacre of 58 people at a concert in Las Vegas last year an act of terrorism?
The killer, longtime gambler Steven Paddock, left few clues about his motive.
The article goes on to state the following:
But how the U.S. Department of Homeland Security or the federal courts answer the question could determine whether shooting survivors and families of the dead can sue the casino and hotel giant, which they say missed warning signs of his attack.
ABA Journal further reports:
In a filing dated July 13, MGM argues that a post-9/11 federal law called the Support Anti-Terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies (SAFETY) Act of 2002 shields them from liability. In total, the hotel chain is making this argument in four separate proceedings, including new suits filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Courts for the District of Arizona and the Central District of California.
David Gallacher, a partner at Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton in Washington D.C., told the ABA Journal that the law was intended to shield manufacturers of security equipment—such as airplane doors and metal detectors—under the cloak of U.S. sovereign immunity and by potentially capping damages.
If applied, the SAFETY Act would put all related claims exclusively in federal jurisdiction.
“While we expected the litigation that followed, we also feel strongly that victims and the community should be able to recover and find resolution in a timely manner,” says Debra DeShong, a spokeswomen for MGM Resorts, in an emailed statement. “Congress provided that the Federal Courts were the correct place for such litigation relating to incidents of mass violence like this one where security services approved by the Department of Homeland Security were provided.
“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.”
MGM would not respond to further requests for comment on the record.
“This is the first test of the SAFETY Act, 15 years after it was passed,” Brian Finch, a partner at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman in Washington D.C., told the ABA Journal. He believes MGM’s lawsuit “is in error.”
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