News and culture through the lens of Southern California.
Hosted by A Martínez
Airs Weekdays 2 to 3 p.m.

Las Vegas shooting victims file lawsuits in with LA Superior Court




Police tape blocks off part of Las Vegas Blvd. on Tuesday near the scene of a massacre at a country music festival in Las Vegas. Twelve devices known as bump stocks were found in the gunman's room.
Police tape blocks off part of Las Vegas Blvd. on Tuesday near the scene of a massacre at a country music festival in Las Vegas. Twelve devices known as bump stocks were found in the gunman's room.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Listen to story

05:33
Download this story 8MB

Hundreds of victims of the Las Vegas shooting in October filed lawsuits with the Los Angeles Superior Court on Monday. The action follows several other lawsuits filed in a Nevada court earlier this month.

One was directed at MGM Resorts International, which owns the Mandalay Bay Hotel where the shooter staged his attack. LiveNation, which organized the concert the victims attended, is also being sued.

"The plaintiffs are suing MGM and Mandalay Bay because they claim they didn't adequately monitor people coming into the hotel and didn't adequately respond quick enough once a security officer had been wounded shortly after the firing began," said Adam Zimmerman, associate professor at Loyola Law School.

Lawsuits against property owners and event managers are common in the aftermath of a tragedy that involves injury or death. Zimmerman said that courts have yet to determine a definitive answer as to whether or not these types of entities are culpable in such an event.

"There is some precedence, historically for holding property owners ... and landlords responsible for crimes that occur on their property when they're foreseeable," Zimmerman said. "The question, in this case, is whether or not they can be held responsible for something as unforeseeable as a mass shooting that took place in quite this way."

Why plaintiffs feel the MGM bears blame for the Las Vegas shooting

"There were a few red flags raised about the particular shooter. That he'd been carrying ten bags full of guns; that he had security cameras posted around his own hotel room; that he didn't really leave his room for over three days. So the claim is that there were enough red flags there that they should have responded quicker or noticed something. And it was their failure to do so that left them in jeopardy."

How much culpability venue owners have in tragedies

"One of the things that the plaintiffs say is that in this day and age we're living day to day with a new mass shooting and at what point is a property owner or a concert hall going to be held responsible.

"Property owners owe some responsibility to people in their facilities. It's particularly true when someone is paying you for the privilege of using that facility. Because when you're paying for the privilege of using a hotel, you go into the hotel with the expectation that they're going to make it safe for you. The question in these cases, which courts haven't totally reached, is can you be held responsible for a shooting that not only might threaten people within the building but people down the street. That's a much harder question."

How cases like this have previously been settled

"They often go to trial, a lot of times they're dismissed on the grounds that the shooting was unforeseeable. There have been many settlements after [the shooting in 2007 at] Virginia Tech. They had a settlement. Sometimes we see efforts to set up compensation funds for the victim's families. But I don't think there's any case I know of where a property venue was found responsible and the verdict was actually upheld in the end."

To hear more about these lawsuits and the precedent for them, click the blue player above.