MGM Resorts, victims of Las Vegas shooting reach settlement of between $735 million and $800 million
MGM Resorts International and attorneys representing substantially all plaintiffs in litigation involving the October 1, 2017 shooting in Las Vegas said Thursday they have reached a settlement agreement, with the casino operator paying between $735 million and $800 million.
The agreement was reached after eight months of mediation overseen by two retired judges – one from Nevada and one from California – which consolidated lawsuits covering more than 4,400 individuals and families seeking compensation for a range of physical and psychological harm after the largest mass shooting event in U.S. history.
The settlement, which was agreed to on Monday, was announced two days after the second anniversary of the shooting. Events throughout Las Vegas marked the anniversary.
Las Vegas attorney Robert Eglet, lead counsel for more than 65 law firms representing the victims, said both sides agreed they did not want to take away from the anniversary and the healing process. Eglet called the agreement “a milestone” in the recovery process for the shooting victims.
The shooting took place on a Sunday evening during the final night of the Route 91 Harvest Festival, a three-day country music event. A shooter from inside a 32nd floor suite at the Mandalay Bay Resort fired into the open-air concert venue across the south Las Vegas Strip, killing 58 people and injuring more than 800. Both Mandalay and the venue are owned by MGM Resorts.
The total amount of the settlement depends on the number of claimants who choose to participate in the settlement, Eglet said. He added that the two-year statute of limitations expired this week, making it nearly impossible for any additional victims to file claims. Plaintiffs in the lawsuits included families of the 58 killed in the shooting, victims wounded by gunfire, and those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental anguish caused by the shooting.
More than 51 percent of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit are residents of California. The next largest portion of plaintiffs are Nevada residents. The lawsuits represented plaintiffs from eight states and Canada.
Under the settlement agreement, the parties will dismiss and release all pending litigation, including the declaratory-relief lawsuits filed by MGM Resorts against participating claimants.
An independent claims administrator will be appointed by Nevada’s Clark County District Court to allocate the settlement fund among the participating claimants. The settlement fund will be funded by MGM Resorts’ insurers with a minimum of $735 million. MGM Resorts has insurance coverage of $751 million.
Eglet said it may take up until the end of next year for the matter to be resolved. The attorney, who had been highly critical of MGM Resorts shortly after the initial lawsuits were filed, praised the company’s actions to end what had expected to be a protracted legal fight.
“What MGM has done is the highest example and standard of corporate citizenship,” Eglet said. “Prolonged litigation was in no one’s best interest.”
The settlement did not include an admission of guilt or liability by MGM Resorts. Eglet said both sides agreed to that language.
In its quarterly filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission in May, MGM said it could possibly reach a settlement of between $735 million and $800 million for the litigation.
“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,” MGM Resorts Chairman and CEO Jim Murren said in a statement released by the company.
“This agreement with the plaintiffs’ counsel is a major step, and one that we hoped for a long time would be possible,” Murren said. “We have always believed that prolonged litigation around these matters is in no one’s best interest. It is our sincere hope that this agreement means that scenario will be avoided.”
Both Eglet and other attorneys who spoke during the Thursday morning press conference expressed hope that the settlement reached by MGM Resorts “sends a message to corporate America to step up and accept responsibility” that could lead to changes in the nation’s gun laws.