Suits Allege Hotel Negligence in 2017 Las Vegas Mass Shooting

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Three years before Stephen Paddock used a suite at the Mandalay Bay casino in Las Vegas to kill 58 and injure hundreds of others, another man stocked a room there with six high-powered rifles he had brought upstairs in baggage, just like Paddock. The New Yorks Times reports that the 2014 case involving Kye Aaron Dunbar, which attracted little public attention at the time, is now being raised by lawyers for victims of last year’s massacre who are suing MGM Resorts International, owner of the Mandalay Bay, for negligence. For Paddock’s victims, the Dunbar case shows that the hotel did not do enough to prevent guests from bringing an arsenal of weapons to the hotel, and that the tragedy that unfolded one year ago was foreseeable.

Dunbar never used the firearms at the hotel. But the Las Vegas police, the F.B.I. and the ATF investigated the case after a housekeeper discovered the weapons. Mandalay Bay argues that the Dunbar case is irrelevant to the Paddock attack. The company says it could not have prevented Paddock’s actions. Confronted by lawsuits, MGM has adopted a hardball legal approach to try to block the victims from recovering any money from the company. The cornerstone of MGM’s argument is that a little-known federal law passed in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks shields companies from liability for casualties from acts of terrorism if they employed antiterrorism technologies and services that carry a special designation from the Department of Homeland Security. Paddock had no known political motive, but MGM argues that the massacre qualifies as an act of terrorism.

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