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MGM reaches settlement for 2017 mass shooting

MGM Resorts on Thursday agreed to pay up to $800 million to victims of the 2017 mass shooting outside its Mandalay Bay Casino & Resort in Las Vegas. 

On October 1, 2017, a gunman on the 32nd floor of the MGM-owned Mandalay Bay opened fire on a crowd of concert-goers, killing 58 and injuring hundreds. 

Lawyers representing survivors and victims wanted MGM to be held liable for negligence, as the shooter was able to enter the hotel with luggage containing an arsenal of firearms. 

Under the settlement agreement, the parties will dismiss and release all pending litigation against MGM Resorts.

However, MGM notes that the proposed settlement is not an admission of liability by MGM Resorts.

According to people familiar with the case, the settlement will see more than 4,000 survivors and relatives of those killed would be eligible for payments through a victim's compensation fund, with the payout process expected to be completed by late 2020. 

The settlement is one of the largest of its kind. Experts say large settlements in mass shootings are rare in part because it can be difficult to hold parties responsible for the criminal acts of individuals. 

Last year, MGM came under fire for aggressively trying to avoid liability by countersuing victims, not to seek monetary compensation, but protection from their legal actions.

The company cited a 2002 federal act that extends liability protection to any company that employs its own “anti-terrorism” technology or services that can “help prevent and respond to mass violence.”

MGM has argued that the hiring of a security vendor, Contemporary Services Corp., was protected from liability as its services had been certified by the Department of Homeland Security for “protecting against and responding to acts of mass injury and destruction.”

However, Las Vegas attorney Robert Eglet, who represented a number of the victims, said the grounds of litigation are “obscure”.

The company appears to have adopted a change of tune on Thursday, with MGM Resorts Chairman and CEO Jim Murren saying that "prolonged litigation around these matters is in no one's best interest. It is our sincere hope that this agreement means that the scenario will be avoided."

“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. This agreement with the Plaintiffs’ Counsel is a major step, and one that we hoped for a long time would be possible,” he said. 

The settlement fund will be funded by MGM Resorts’ insurers with a minimum of $735 million.

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