05 October, 2020 Insurance
WREG Memphis reported that on 30 September 2020, Clark County District Court Judge Linda Bell approved an $800 million lawsuit settlement between 4,400 claimants and MGM over the Mandalay Bay-Route 91 Harvest Festival massacre.
The 1 October 2017 attack by a gunman using a suite on the 32d floor of the MGM Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas as a shooting perch killed 61 people and injured 867, 411 by weapons fire. The shooter mostly used AR-15 style firearms shooting 5.56mm rounds, but he also used some heavier .308 caliber firearms in both AR/semiautomatic and bolt action configurations.
Muir Analytics previously covered the lawsuit when it began here.
Eglet Adams law firm, one of the lead firms in the case, announced on 3 October 2019 they had “reached a settlement agreement to resolve the pending lawsuits against MGM Resorts” in the amount of $735-$800 million. This more recent 30 September 2020 announcement represents the final chapter in the lawsuit aspect of this case. Eglet Adams said their work was the culmination of a team effort by multiple lawyers from several firms that made up the “1 October Litigation Leadership Group,” including:
The lawsuit itself was “a 225-page civil complaint seeking compensation and punitive damages from MGM Resorts,” accusing it of “negligence, wrongful death, and liability.”
However, the settlement has MGM acknowledging zero liability, a standard practice in settlements, said senior plaintiffs’ attorney Robert Eglet, when interviewed by WREG Memphis.
In broad terms, people who sustained “unseen injuries” and received no medical treatment will receive $5,000, and the severely wounded will receive millions.
Robert Eglet said in a highly informative interview with WREG Memphis (@ the 9:09 mark), there was a “tower of insurance for MGM” – more than 24 insurance companies – involved. This means that, on average, the insurers would be contributing about $31 million each to the lawsuit. Of course, some policies might have facilitated more or less money to the final settlement, depending on their contracts’ parameters.
There will be a 30-day appeal window on this ruling.
There are two main takeaways here. First, better security at the MGM Mandalay Bay could have not only prevented this massacre, but also the tortuous lawsuit that followed. Case studies, statistics, and analyses of hotel violence from around the world could have helped MGM security and staff detect the shooter’s pre-attack (and quite odd) behaviors. Muir Analytics’ Jeff Moore stated the details of these odd behaviors – quoted by Hotel News Now – on 27 April 2018 at the Hospitality Law Conference in Houston, Texas.
As an aside, Muir Analytics’ SecureHotel Threat Portal can help hospitality companies foresee threats before they evolve, which helps prevent acts of hotel violence and/or lessen their impact. Muir’s Threat Portal is backed by the world’s largest and most sophisticated hotel violence database.
Second, it is getting easier for victims of hotel violence to sue hotels for security negligence and related issues. Not all hotel violence lawsuits result in courtroom victories, but many do result in settlements. Muir Analytics’ Jeff Moore has delivered two briefings to the Hospitality Law Conference series on this phenomenon. The Mandalay Bay lawsuit is part of this trend. Sometimes, the lawsuits are over negligence of the actions (or inactions) of hotel staff in a single incident such as the Mandalay Bay case. Other times, the charges are supported by a trend analysis of incidents at a single property or a hotel brand name that has experienced a pattern of violence that demonstrates “totality of circumstances.” The latter issue was made clear in the landmark case, Humphries vs. New York-New York Hotel & Casino, from 5 October 2017, just four days after the Mandalay Bay massacre.
In brief, the plaintiff’s attorneys in the Humphries case were able to statistically demonstrate the New York New York Hotel & Casino suffered from a compelling number of physical assaults and other acts of violence and, therefore, the hotel was “on notice,” and security should have been prepared to effectively defend the plaintiff, Humphries, when they were attacked.
See the two below white papers for more details:
Until the hospitality sector incorporates professional-grade intelligence into its security regimen – and also into its legal protection, hotel development regimens, and insurance policies – this sector will continue to be more vulnerable than it should be, and hotel guests, staff, buildings, and revenues will continue to be at risk.
“Eglet Adams Announces Settlement of 1 October Shooting Litigation,” Eglet Adams blog, 3 October 2019.
“Judge approves $800M settlement for victims of Las Vegas shooting,” News Channel 3 WREG, 1 October 2020.
“Court OK’s $800M settlement for MGM Resorts, Vegas victims,” Associated Press, 30 September 2020.
“Experts: Tighter security at US hotels remains unlikely,” Hotel News Now, 17 April 2018.
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