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US – MGM Resorts facing its first lawsuit following Mandalay Bay massacre

By - 12 October 2017

Paige Gasper, a 21-year-old from Texas who is studying in California, is the first to take legal action against MGM Resorts International after she was injured during the mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest festival.

The complainant, who was shot in the chest and needed several surgeries, also details the estate of the gunman, who used a suite in MGM-owned Mandalay Bay to murder 58 concert attendees and injuring 500 others.

The lawsuit says MGM and Mandalay Bay failed to monitor people entering and leaving the hotel and did not notice the guns being transported to the room. It also claims the casino operator didn’t respond ‘quickly enough’ after the shooting began. She wants her medical bills to be paid along with punitive damages.

The claim details that a bullet ‘entered her right underarm, cut across her right breast, shattered her ribs and lacerated her liver before exiting her body.’ She detailed how she was incapacitated and then trampled as panicking concertgoers ran for cover, which she said is partially the fault of Live Nation for its inadequate exit plan.

MGM Spokesperson Debra DeShong said: “The tragic incident that took place on October 1 was a meticulously planned, evil senseless act. As our company and city work through the healing process, our primary focus and concern is taking actions to support the victims and their families, our guests and employees and cooperating with law enforcement. Out of respect for the victims we are not going to try this case in the public domain and we will give our response through the appropriate legal channels,” according to the statement.

Las Vegas attorney Nathan Morris, working for Ms. Gasper, said: “Paige loves Las Vegas and went to the Route 91 concert expecting to have the wonderful time people are accustomed to having here in our city. She wanted us to take action to address the safety failures that happened to her, and together we believe that through this action we can make Las Vegas as safe as it should be, so that it remains a world-class destination that we know it is. We have to maintain our reputation as the safest place on the planet.”

In a difficult turn of events, MGM Resorts has now been criticised for not acting quicker after changes to the timeline of events of the massacre that saw Mandalay Bay security guard Jesus Campos shot in the hallway before the gunman turned his sights on the crowd at the Route 91 Harvest. Police had previously stated that Campos was shot during a break in the fire during the attack on the concert crowd. In the six minutes between the guard being shot and the onset of the shooting towards the concert, the injured guard used his radio to call hotel dispatchers for help and inform them that there was an active shooter on the 32nd floor.

“This remains an ongoing investigation with a lot of moving parts,” explained MGM’s Debra DeShong. “As evidenced by law enforcement briefings over the past week, many facts are still unverified and continue to change as events are under review. We cannot be certain about the most recent timeline that has been communicated publically, and we believe what is currently being expressed may not be accurate.”

MGM’s Joele Frank added: “We understand the public’s desire for information and the importance of getting our community and the public at large the information they deserve, and we are doing everything we can to support law enforcement’s efforts to do so. Therefore, it is not appropriate for us to comment further at this time on what remains an open matter for law enforcement.”

MGM has since said the police claims are ‘inaccurate’ and has narrowed the time frame addeding that shots were fired into the Route 91 Harvest Festival crowd ‘at the same time as, or within 40 seconds after’ the security guard first reported that shots were fired.

It added that Las Vegas police were ‘in the building’ when the guard reported the shooting and ‘immediately responded to the 32nd floor.’

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