Hundreds of lawsuits expected from Las Vegas massacre

Source: Xinhua| 2017-11-17 20:07:04|Editor: Yurou
Video PlayerClose

by Peter Mertz

DENVER, the United States, Nov. 16 (Xinhua) -- While there have been more mass shootings in the United States following the Las Vegas concert massacre, specters of the latter continue to haunt America with lawsuits triggered by it now flooding Nevada's court docket.

Personal injury lawyers from Illinois, Texas and Las Vegas have been interviewing dozens of victims, taking depositions and preparing to file hundreds of suits over the country music festival shooting that killed 58 and injured more than 500, according to a Texas law firm.

With an extraordinarily large number of victims, the law firm of Robin Raynish launched an online appeal Thursday, asking: "Were You or a Loved One Affected by the Las Vegas Shooting?"

The post on the site site stated: "Anyone affected by the tragic mass shooting on Oct. 1, 2017 at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada may be eligible for financial compensation for any injuries that have been incurred."

A Raynish spokesperson confirmed they have interviewed at least 50 people so far, with "hundreds" expected to follow. They were also working with other law firms to handle the enormous amount of defendants' claims.

Elisha Seng, an Illinois native who had attended the concert, said in her complaint that she continued to be haunted by images of bullets thudding around her, with a young woman covered in blood after being shot, clutching her throat as she fell forward.

Although Seng was not physically hurt at the concert, she alleged that she can't sleep, has nightmares, and recently mistook a heavy rain for gunshots.

The 14 individual suits filed Wednesday by people and relatives in Nevada's Clark County District Court cited wrongful death, bodily injury, and psychological damage in a sequel to the mass killing.

Lawsuits are being filed against Mandalay Bay, the hotel where gunman Stephen Paddock stayed, as well as its parent company MGM Resorts International; the concert organizer; and the manufacturer of the "bump stock" device used by the mass murderer to enhance the efficacy of his guns.

The complaints questioned why Paddock was treated as "MGM's VIP guest," given a free room with access to a service elevator, which enabled him to bring 17 guns into his hotel room, court records revealed.

The lawsuits also asked why there were not enough security cameras on the 32nd floor where the gunman stayed and from where he carried out the shooting, and why the resort had not installed gunshot detection devices in each room.

As to the event organizer Live Nation Entertainment company, the complaints alleged that the event did not have enough adequately marked exits, was not staffed enough, and employees were not properly trained to deal with emergencies.


Legal experts told Xinhua that claims against Mandalay Bay and Live National Entertainment may yield compensation for victims, yet it is unlikely that the manufacturer of the bump stock, Slide Fire Solutions, will be held liable.

"I don't think, as the law stands now, that these claims are actionable," said San Francisco attorney Steven Brady, referring to the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) supported unanimously by Republicans and signed into law in 2005 by then President George W. Bush.

The PLCAA protects firearms manufacturers and dealers from being held liable when crimes are committed with their guns. National Rifle Association (NRA) CEO Wayne LaPierre called it "the most significant piece of pro-gun legislation in 20 years."

"The courts have a limited ability to overturn these laws, especially when we have a large lobby protected by the NRA," Brady told Xinhua. "The laws are reasonably clear."

A New York Times editorial published Nov. 6 said in the past 551 days, there had been 555 mass shootings in the United States. As per the FBI definition, when four or more people are killed in a single shooting incident it is regarded as a mass shooting.

"Perhaps these law suits will expose the ugly underbelly of the NRA and the gun lobby," said gun control advocate Sandy Phillips, whose 24-year-old daughter Jessica was murdered in the 2012 Aurora theater shooting that also claimed 11 more victims.

"I'm not sure if these lawsuits will result in judgments against gun manufacturers... People need to start looking at their elected officials about their positions on gun control," Seattle attorney David Richardson said.

One exception to the PLCAA was in 2016, when a Missouri gun store paid 2.2 million U.S. dollars for "negligent entrustment" after it sold a gun to a schizophrenic woman who later shot her father dead.