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58 people dead. Over 500 injured. And now, victims are getting sued. The tragic story of the worst mass shooting in American history has been void of information, wrapped in conspiracy, and now the latest development is an absolute jaw dropper: MGM, parent company of Mandalay Bay, will sue the 1000+ victims named in suits against them. I’m certainly no legal expert, and you can read an analysis on the New York Times here, but the long and short of the maneuver is to utilize a federal law known as the “Support Antiterrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies, or Safety, Act,” to absolve itself of liability and get any lawsuit thrown out. Arguably, MGM is facing an existential crisis, and focusing on one particular law as a way out.
The law was written to protect certified manufacturers of security equipment, or those who provide security services, if they’re unable to prevent a terrorist attack.
Currently there isn’t a case that establishes precedent for a situation whereby a security firm is certified by the DHS when an act of terrorism is committed – so this would have quite an impact on cases going forward. MGM asserts that it met two conditions and therefore qualifies for protection under the 2002 law:
- The security company, Contemporary Services Corporation, holds a certificate from the DHS
- The company’s perspective on the shooting is that it qualifies as an “act of terrorism.”
I was surprised to discover that the 2nd condition, declaration of an “act of terrorism,” is something that hasn’t been publicly declared by the DHS. But, apparently, that is the case.
One of the victims’ lawyers, Craig Eiland thinks the move by MGM is not only outrageous, but represents a dangerous trajectory for the courts to establish. He says,
“Their theory is that this security company goes to D.H.S. and gets some type of certificate, and so now MGM is immune, and everybody in the future who hires the company is immune…It’s outrageous, and that’s not what the law is, and we would all be less safe.”
Sadly, closure for victims and their families won’t be anytime soon.
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