- Paige Gasper
A victim of the Las Vegas shooting has filed a lawsuit against the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.
On Monday, 21-year-old Paige Gasper filed a lawsuit against the Mandalay Bay and MGM Resorts International, the hotel’s parent company, alleging that the hotel was “negligent or grossly negligent” in failing to notice or take precautions against the shooter stockpiling guns in his room, and that employees were not adequately trained to notice and report suspicious activity.
Also named in the complaint are Live Nation Entertainment Inc., which organized the music festival the gunman, Stephen Paddock, shot attendees of from his room on the 32nd floor of the hotel; Slide Fire Solutions LP, which makes devices called bump stocks that Paddock outfitted some of his semiautomatic weapons with to increase their rate of fire; and Paddock’s estate.
Gasper was shot in the chest when Paddock opened fire from his hotel room on the crowd of 22,000 people attending the music festival across the street leaving 58 dead and about 500 others wounded. The complaint says the bullet shattered her ribs and lacerated her liver. Gasper was then trampled by fleeing concertgoers before someone helped her take cover and drove her to a hospital, the complaint says.
“At all relevant times, Defendants MGM, and/or Mandalay Corp … knew or should have known that it was reasonably foreseeable that a breach of their duties to keep their premises reasonably safe in the aforementioned manner might result in catastrophic injury perpetrated by a gun-toting guest with an extreme intention to harm others,” the complaint reads.
Gasper is seeking in excess of $15,000 in damages.
“The tragic incident that took place on October 1st was a meticulously planned, evil, senseless act,” an MGM Resorts spokeswoman, Debra DeShong, told Business Insider in a statement. “As our company and city work through the healing process, our primary focus and concern is taking actions to support the victims and their families, our guests and employees, and cooperating with law enforcement.
“Out of respect for the victims, we are not going to try this case in the public domain, and we will give our response through the appropriate legal channels,” DeShong continued.
Gasper’s case is the first reported lawsuit against MGM and the Mandalay Bay, but it is unlikely to be the last.
It’s very likely that more victims of the shooting will try to hold the Mandalay Bay accountable by bringing lawsuits against the hotel and MGM and seeking damages for things like medical expenses or disabilities resulting from the shooting, legal experts previously told Business Insider.
- David Becker/Getty Images
Whether such a lawsuit would have merit would depend on many factors that remain unknown to the public. For example, the Los Angeles Times reported on Monday that a Mandalay Bay security guard had alerted the hotel about a gunman before Paddock opened fire on the crowd – something MGM says may not be accurate.
“This remains an ongoing investigation with a lot of moving parts. As evidenced by law-enforcement briefings over the past week, many facts are still unverified and continue to change as events are under review,” DeShong said in a statement Tuesday night. “We cannot be certain about the most recent timeline that has been communicated publicly, and we believe what is currently being expressed may not be accurate.”
A lawsuit against MGM may require courts to break legal ground in assigning liability for mass shootings. As the shootings become increasingly common, some companies and venues may be seen as legally liable to take preventative measures.
“If Congress isn’t regulating gun ownership, it is going to be private parties … who end up regulating their own premises,” Heidi Li Feldman, a professor at Georgetown Law School, previously told Business Insider.