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More lawsuits filed over mass shooting at Route 91 Harvest Festival

By | Published on Wednesday 22 November 2017

Route 91 Harvest

A number of new lawsuits have been filed in relation to the mass shooting that occurred at the Route 91 Harvest festival in Las Vegas last month. Festival promoter Live Nation is a defendant in the cases alongside MGM Resorts International and the estate of the gunman. Unlike the initial lawsuit filed in relation to these tragic events, a number of the new cases will be pursued through the Californian courts.

As previously reported, as final night headliner Jason Aldean began his performance at the open air Vegas country music event, Stephen Paddock opened fire on the 22,000 strong audience from a room on the 32nd floor of the MGM Resorts-owned Mandalay Bay hotel, which is situated near by. He killed 58 people and left hundreds more injured.

Paige Gasper, who was seriously injured during the shooting, was the first to go legal last month. The new lawsuits filed last week and on Monday include a re-filing of Gasper’s litigation, plus cases being pursued on behalf of the families of some of those who were killed, as well as on behalf of many more injured festival-goers and others who say they were left emotionally traumatised by the event.

To succeed, the plaintiffs will have to prove negligence on the part of MGM Resorts and/or Live Nation. The former has been criticised for failing to prevent Paddock from stock-piling weapons in his room at the Mandalay Bay hotel and for its response to the shooting of a security guard, which occurred six minutes before the gunman opened fire on the festival’s audience.

Meanwhile, Live Nation has been accused of not adequately building and signposting emergency exits for the festival site, or training staff in how to deal with an emergency situation such as the one that unfolded at the event.

The initial lawsuit was filed in Las Vegas, but some of the new litigation is being pursued in LA on the basis that many of the victims are from California and are incurring medical costs in relation to their injuries within that state.

Though one of the lawyers working on the case has admitted that he believes his clients will get a fairer hearing in LA than Las Vegas, partly because MGM Resorts is such a major employer in the latter city that there’s a high chance jury members would have informal links to the company.

According to the Associated Press, attorney Chad Pinkerton said: “Los Angeles is a better venue for fairness for our clients” because “there would be certain advantages for MGM to defend its case in Nevada”, where it employs 70,000 people.

Responding to the new litigation, a spokesperson for MGM Resorts told reporters: “The incident that took place on Oct 1 was a terrible tragedy perpetrated by an evil man. These kinds of lawsuits are not unexpected and we intend to defend ourselves against them. That said, out of respect for the victims, we will give our response through the appropriate legal channels”.

Meanwhile, Live Nation declined to comment on the legal action, simply stating that it continues to co-operate with the FBI investigation into the crime, while reaffirming its sorrow for the “countless people forever impacted by this senseless act of violence”.