In November, National Public Radio (NPR) reported that hundreds of victims involved in the Las Vegas casino mass shooting filed multiple lawsuits citing negligence. The defendants named in the suit included MGM Resorts International, which owns the Mandalay Bay hotel, site of the shooting, as well as Live Nation, the company that organized the country music concert targeted by the shooter.
While it’s far from certain that the plaintiffs in this lawsuit have a strong case, this lawsuit still provides an opportunity to discuss issues such as negligence, premises liability and other topics related to personal injury law. Continue reading to learn a little about the facts of this case, and how it can be viewed through the lens of personal injury law. If you have questions about a personal injury of your own, consider contacting our office to schedule a consultation.
Mandalay Bay Shooting, The Basic Facts
On October 1, Mandalay Bay Hotel guest Stephen Paddock was staying in a room on the 32nd floor overlooking a large crowd of people gathered for a country music festival below. A frequent gambler at the hotel, Paddock’s room had been given the room for the weekend free of charge. For two days prior to the massacre, Paddock covertly transported an arsenal of rifles and ammunition from his car into his room via a service elevator, which he had access to because of his status as special guest of the hotel.
After smashing the window of his hotel room, Paddock fired into the crowd below, killing more than 58 people and injuring 500. The bloodshed ended when Paddock took his own life. The Mandalay Bay shooting is now the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. History.
The Basics of the Lawsuit
The shooting victims who filed the lawsuit are claiming negligence both on the part of the hotel operators and concert organizer Live Nation. According to NPR, the suit accuses MGM of “not having adequate security policies, not properly training staff, not properly surveilling the premises, and failing to respond quickly when security guard Jesus Campos was shot.”
The suit alleges that because shooter was a frequent, high-stakes guest of the hotel, he was granted special status, which gave him access to a service elevator allowing him to easily bring a large stockpile of weapons into his room undetected.
As for concert organizer Live Nation, the lawsuit alleges the company failed to provide an adequate number of exits, or properly train their staff to deal with terrorist attacks.
An attorney involved with the case said the lawsuits were filed in Los Angeles because many of the victims were filed in California because most of the victims were from here. Additionally, Live Nation is a California based company.
What the Law Says About Corporate Negligence
While the events of October 1 were heinous, and many lives were affected unalterably, it remains to be seen whether or not the plaintiff’s in the related lawsuits will be able to take their case all the way to a successful judgment. When it comes to deciding whether a company is negligent in a personal injury case, there are a number of things that must be considered. This brings up certain topics that are relevant in the personal injury legal field, notably premises liability.
Premises liability is concerned with the owner of a specific property and whether that person or company can be held responsible for those who suffer injuries while on the premises.
When a jury is asked to decide a premise liability case, there are a number of factors that they must consider. These are found in section 1000 of California’s Civil Jury instructions, and include:
- Determining whether defendant owned or controlled the property where the injury occurred.
- Determining whether the defendant was negligence in the use or maintenance of the property.
- Whether the negligence was a substantial factor in causing harm to the plaintiff.
Other jury instructions might include considering whether or not the property owner had a basic duty of care to the plaintiff. The instructions state that a person who owns or controls a property is negligent if he or she “fails to use reasonable care to keep the property in a reasonably safe condition.” In addition, the jury must consider the likelihood of harm, and whether the defendant knew or should have known of the condition that created the risk of harm.
If You Think You Have a Case, Contact an Attorney
For now, it remains to be seen how the Vegas mass shooting lawsuit will play out. Do the plaintiffs have enough evidence to prove the hotel and concert organizer could have known about the horrible lengths the shooter was willing to go to? Those of us in the personal injury profession will be following the developments closely.
It goes without saying that personal injury law is complex. There is an almost endless range of injuries that could cause a person to file a claim against a property owner. This could include: falls, collisions, assaults, even food poisoning.
If you’ve been injured on another person’s property, and believe the owner of that property was negligent in maintaining safe conditions, it might be well worth your time to discuss your options with a personal injury attorney. Depending on the facts of your case, you might be entitled to pain and suffering damages, attorney’s fees, and in some cases, punitive damages.
If you have questions about any of the topics covered on this page, or some other issue related to personal injury law, contact our office to see how we can help.