MGM Resorts slammed for countersuing Las Vegas shooting victims

It has filed lawsuits denying liability in the massacre that killed 58 and wounded hundreds. Social media users are lambasting the company over the move.

Suing the victims of a mass shooting seems bad enough, but an attorney for MGM Resorts asserts that it’s for their own good.

After one of the deadliest attacks in U.S. history during an October 2017 country music concert in Las Vegas, the company that operated the show (and owned the building where the gunman fired from) is looking to decrease its liability.

CNN reported:

MGM Resorts International, which is facing a barrage of lawsuits over the shooting, responded Friday by naming more than 1,000 of the shooting victims as defendants in two lawsuits of its own. The entertainment giant is not seeking monetary damages but, citing a federal law, asks the courts to protect it from legal actions filed by the victims.

In a statement to CNN, MGM Resorts called the shooting “the despicable act of one evil individual” and said its lawsuits, filed Friday in US District Courts for Nevada and Central California, are intended to benefit the victims and help them heal.

“The Federal Court is an appropriate venue for these cases and provides those affected with the opportunity for a timely resolution,” said Debra DeShong, spokeswoman for MGM Resorts. “Years of drawn-out litigation and hearings are not in the best interest of victims, the community and those still healing.”

Victims and families spoke out during a press conference, sharing their grief and the shock that the countersuit has created for survivors.

ABC reported:

“It brings it all up again, and takes me right back to being helpless,” said Jason McMillan, who was paralyzed from the waist down in the attack.

“Hearing that I’m being sued — it’s not only insulting, it enrages me to think that this company can just try to skip out on their responsibilities and their liability for what happened.”

McMillan vowed not to back down in the fight against the company.

Families that lost loved ones call the move “outrageous.”

ABC continued:

Joyce Shipp, 72, whose 50-year-old daughter Laura Shipp was killed in the shooting, said she was still learning to cope with the aftermath.

“I wasn’t at the concert but I live it every day. Every time we go outside we see Mandalay Bay. It’s hard to get that out of your head,” she said.

“The fact that [MGM is] trying to sue us — it’s outrageous,” she added. “That they would have the audacity to put me through that again — It’s like being kicked again to the ground.”

MGM responded to the outcry with a statement defending its legal strategy while offering sympathy for victims.

ABC reported:

In response to the press conference, MGM spokesperson Debra DeShong provided the following statement:

“It is heartbreaking to hear these personal accounts of an unspeakable tragedy. We grieve with all of the victims. No one wins from endless litigation and it will not change the fact that one person is responsible for this horrendous act of violence and he took his own life rather than face justice.

“Plaintiffs lawyers have filed and refiled dozens of lawsuits, in multiple jurisdictions, in state and federal court. Resolving each case individually would require years of testimony from victims, first responders and employees. 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. As we have said from the beginning, we filed actions involving individuals who have retained attorneys and either have sued or threatened to sue.”

On Twitter, users were disgusted by MGM’s legal action.

Many pledged never to patronize the casino again:

Others took a more complex view of the lawsuit, pointing out that MGM isn’t seeking money but rather a release from liability:

However, the action has engendered a PR nightmare.

What do you think, PR Daily readers? How might MGM Resorts protect its reputation as it protects itself from litigation?

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