MGM Donation Offer Part of Legal Strategy After Mass Shooting

By REGINA GARCIA CANO | September 13, 2018

An unprecedented legal move by MGM Resorts International to sue surviving victims of the Las Vegas mass shooting took another unusual turn Tuesday when the casino-operator offered to make $500 charitable donations in the name of each person who waives or has their lawyer accept legal notice of the lawsuits.

The move is part of MGM’s attempt to have a federal judge hear the cases and declare that the casino-operator has no liability for the mass shooting at one of its properties under a law enacted after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The law limits damages against entities that implement security measures approved by federal officials.

MGM has insisted its lawsuits, which don’t demand money, are meant to avoid years of costly litigation.

The mass shooting occurred Oct. 1 at an outdoor music festival when a high-stakes gambler opened fire from the Mandalay Bay casino-resort, killing 58 people and injuring more than 800 others attending the show.

The company sued more than 1,900 people in July and has been working to notify the defendants.

MGM says it would rather make the donations to charities supporting survivors or families of slain victims than spend the money to pay people to serve the legal notices.

“The money spent on personal service of process – up to $250 per person – could be better directed to do some affirmative good,” MGM’s attorneys wrote in the letter shared with The Associated Press.

If the offers are not accepted, “we will personally serve the complaints courteously and respectfully,” MGM spokeswoman Debra DeShong said.

Attorneys representing some of the victims did not immediately return messages seeking comment. They have until Friday to notify MGM of a decision.

The defendants in the lawsuits are people who previously sued the company and voluntarily dismissed their claims and those who have threatened to sue.

MGM has cited a 2002 federal law that limits liability when a company or group uses services certified by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The company argues that the security vendor for the outdoor venue in Las Vegas was federally certified at the time of the attack.

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