MGM Resorts slammed for countersuing Las Vegas shooting victims – Info PR
Suing the victims of a mass shooting seems bad enough, but an attorney for
MGM Resorts asserts that it’s for their own good.
After one of the deadliest attacks in U.S. history during an October 2017
country music concert in Las Vegas, the company that operated the show (and
owned the building where the gunman fired from) is looking to decrease its
MGM Resorts International, which is facing a barrage of lawsuits over the
shooting, responded Friday by naming more than 1,000 of the shooting
victims as defendants in two lawsuits of its own. The entertainment giant
is not seeking monetary damages but, citing a federal law, asks the courts
to protect it from legal actions filed by the victims.
In a statement to CNN, MGM Resorts called the shooting “the despicable act
of one evil individual” and said its lawsuits, filed Friday in US District
Courts for Nevada and Central California, are intended to benefit the
victims and help them heal.
“The Federal Court is an appropriate venue for these cases and provides
those affected with the opportunity for a timely resolution,” said Debra
DeShong, spokeswoman for MGM Resorts. “Years of drawn-out litigation and
hearings are not in the best interest of victims, the community and those
Victims and families spoke out during a press conference, sharing their
grief and the shock that the countersuit has created for survivors.
“It brings it all up again, and takes me right back to being helpless,”
said Jason McMillan, who was
paralyzed from the waist down
in the attack.
“Hearing that I’m being sued — it’s not only insulting, it enrages me to
think that this company can just try to skip out on their responsibilities
and their liability for what happened.”
McMillan vowed not to back down in the fight against the company.
Families that lost loved ones call the move “outrageous.”
Joyce Shipp, 72, whose 50-year-old daughter
was killed in the shooting, said she was still learning to cope with the
“I wasn’t at the concert but I live it every day. Every time we go outside
we see Mandalay Bay. It’s hard to get that out of your head,” she said.
“The fact that [MGM is] trying to sue us — it’s outrageous,” she added.
“That they would have the audacity to put me through that again — It’s
like being kicked again to the ground.”
MGM responded to the outcry with a statement defending its legal strategy
while offering sympathy for victims.
[FREE GUIDE: 3 things you (probably) didn’t know about crisis communications]
In response to the press conference, MGM spokesperson Debra DeShong
provided the following statement:
“It is heartbreaking to hear these personal accounts of an unspeakable
tragedy. We grieve with all of the victims. No one wins from endless
litigation and it will not change the fact that one person is responsible
for this horrendous act of violence and he took his own life rather than
“Plaintiffs lawyers have filed and refiled dozens of lawsuits, in multiple
jurisdictions, in state and federal court. Resolving each case individually
would require years of testimony from victims, first responders and
employees. We believe Congress determined these cases should be in federal
court and that getting everyone in the same court, is the best and fastest
way to resolve these cases. As we have said from the beginning, we filed
actions involving individuals who have retained attorneys and either have
sued or threatened to sue.”
On Twitter, users were disgusted by MGM’s legal action.
@MGMGrand, please remove me from your players list. I wont be playing at any MGM casino going forward. Your lawsuit against victims of a mass shooting is digusting!! How dare you say its in their best interest. You pompous, arrogant, heartless jackholes. #BoycottMGM
— Bmc (@bmconway24) July 17, 2018
Many pledged never to patronize the casino again:
I will protest this the only way I can: I won’t EVER stay or place another bet, or eat at, any MGM hotel in #LasVegas again, unless the lawsuit against these parties are dismissed.
— Man Damus ⚖ (@Litig8rHam) July 23, 2018
Others took a more complex view of the lawsuit, pointing out that MGM isn’t seeking money but rather a release from liability:
Just so we’re clear:
MGM Resorts hasn’t sued the victims. There was a lawsuit against MGM, so they filed a complaint claiming no liability + asking for the charges against them to be dismissed.
They filed a countersuit/counterclaim. This is not equivalent to suing the victims. https://t.co/sYjZacHIOf
— not aiza (@crosswordaiza) July 18, 2018
However, the action has engendered a PR nightmare.
An audio interview from @KNPRnews featuring @bhreber, @DickYarbrough Professor in Crisis Communication, talking about the lawsuit MGM is filing denying liability in the #vegasshooting. Reber’s comments start around 6:45: https://t.co/t2hC1Y86mR #GradyExperts @AdPR_UGA pic.twitter.com/omc72YDTxk
— UGA Grady College (@UGAGrady) July 19, 2018
What do you think, PR Daily readers? How might MGM Resorts protect its reputation as it protects itself from litigation?
Article Prepared by Ollala Corp