MGM to pay Las Vegas shooting survivors, families up to $800m

MGM reaches settlement with survivors, families of 58 people killed in the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history.

    The 'Welcome to Las Vegas' sign is surrounded by flowers and items, left after the October 1, 2017, mass shooting, in Las Vegas, Nevada [File: Las Vegas Sun/Steve Marcus/Reuters]
    The 'Welcome to Las Vegas' sign is surrounded by flowers and items, left after the October 1, 2017, mass shooting, in Las Vegas, Nevada [File: Las Vegas Sun/Steve Marcus/Reuters]

    Survivors and the families of the 58 people killed in the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history have reached a settlement of at least $735m with MGM Resorts, a law firm representing the victims and MGM Resorts International said on Thursday.

    MGM Resorts owns the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas where Stephen Paddock, 64, fired more than 1,100 rounds from his 32nd-floor suite into a crowd of 22,000 people at an outdoor country music festival on October 1, 2017, killing 58 and wounding 800 others before killing himself.

    "While nothing will be able to bring back the lives lost or undo the horrors so many suffered on that day, this settlement will provide fair compensation for thousands of victims and their families," Robert Eglet, a lead counsel representing some 2,500 plaintiffs in the case, said in a statement.

    The total settlement amount might rise to $800m, depending on how many claimants choose to participate, according to the law firm Eglet Adams.

    "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. This agreement with the plaintiffs' counsel is a major step, and one that we hoped for a long time would be possible," Jim Murren, chairman and chief executive of MGM Resorts said in a statement.

    Las Vegas Mourns After Largest Mass Shooting In U.S. History
    Mourners hold candles in the air during a moment of silence during a vigil to remember the Las Vegas shooting victims [File: Drew Angerer/Getty Images] 

    Dr Heather Melton, an orthopaedic surgeon whose husband, Sonny, died shielding her from the gunfire, said she had mixed feelings about the settlement. 

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    "There's some good that comes from it, it will help give families closure and alleviates their ongoing medical costs," she said. "But there's no amount of money I would take to not get my husband back."

    Police and the FBI found that Paddock meticulously planned the attack and theorised that he may have sought notoriety. But they said they never determined a clear motive.

    As legal claims piled up, MGM drew outrage when it filed lawsuits last year against more than 1,900 victims in a bid to avoid liability. The company argued that it did not owe anything to survivors or families of slain victims under a federal law enacted after the September 11, 2001, attacks.

    Chelsea Romo, a 30-year-old single mother from Temecula, California, who lost her left eye and had shrapnel lodged in her brain, said she hopes the penalty will lead to measures that make public places safer against mass shootings. 

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    "The past can't be changed," she said. "I guess as far as going forward, if things can be safer and better, that's all I really could ask for."

    The settlement announced on Thursday creates the third-largest victims' compensation fund in US history, according to a claims administrator who has doled out money in major attacks and disasters. Kenneth Feinberg, who was not involved in the Las Vegas deal, said he oversaw $7.1bn in victim compensation after the 9/11 attacks and $6.5bn following the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

    SOURCE: News agencies