MGM settles Las Vegas shooting case for as much as $800 million
MGM Resorts International will pay between $735 million and $800 million to settle a lawsuit with victims, and the families of victims killed, in the October 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas.
Eglet Adams, the Las Vegas-based law firm that represents about 2,500 of the roughly 4,000 family victims, announced a settlement agreement Thursday. In coming weeks, a federal court official will soon appoint an independent administrator charged with overseeing a settlement fund that MGM will pay into. The administrator will also establish the process under which victims will claim a portion of the fund.
The agreement means all parties will dismiss any pending litigation against MGM Resorts, according to Eglet Adam. MGM owns Mandalay Bay, the hotel where the mass shooting took place.
MGM Resorts CEO Jim Murren said the settlement is "a major step" toward the healing process for families.
"Our goal has always been to resolve these matters so our community and the victims and their families can move forward in the healing process," he said in a statement. "We have always believed that prolonged litigation around these matters is in no one's best interest. It is our sincere hope that this agreement means that scenario will be avoided."
Attorney Robert Eglet of Eglet Adams said the settlement demonstrates MGM's good faith in trying to compensate people affected by the massacre.
"While nothing will be able to bring back the lives lost or undo the horrors so many suffered on that day, this settlement will provide fair compensation for thousands of victims and their families," he said. "We believe that the terms of this settlement represent the best outcome for our clients and will provide the greatest good for those impacted by these events."
The settlement creates the third-largest victims compensation fund in U.S. history, according to The Associated Press, citing Kenneth Feinberg, who oversaw multi-billion dollar compensation procedures after the Sept. 11 attacks and the BP oil spill.
The Las Vegas shooting, which left 58 dead and wounded hundreds of others, occurred during an outdoor country music festival. The shooter, Stephen Craig Paddock, killed himself in a Mandalay Bay hotel room. Authorities later found assault-style weapons, hundreds of rounds of ammunition and bump stocks that allow a user to rapidly fire a gun.
Chelsea Romo, a 30-year-old Temecula, California, mother, temporarily lost vision in her left eye when shrapnel struck her face during the shooting.
"I'm a single mom, and I just thank God every day that I'm actually here with them," Romo said Thursday in a press conference. "To know something good could come from something that was so horrible is, I guess, the only thing I could ask for out of this."
Eglet said the exact amount MGM will pay depends on how many victims file a claim. "We expect all complainants will choose to participate," he said, adding that MGM has $751 million in insurance coverage.
Eglet said he and a team of lawyers finalized the settlement with MGM officials Monday, but wanted to wait to announce it until after the shooting's two-year anniversary on Tuesday. It took eight months of mediation with MGM to reach a settlement, he added.
Jim Frantz, whose San Diego-based law firm represents another 199 victims including Romo, said Thursday's settlement is a good first step. Now MGM must strengthen the security protocol at all their facilities, he said.
"I would assume a responsible business, after going through something like this, would institute the highest level of security," Frantz said, adding that the company should add metal detectors and Navy SEAL-type security guards. "As long as we have automatic weapons, we've got to be on high alert with all our security."
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