Reports on the largest mass shooting in history resulted in a firestorm of media attention and intense speculation about ways to prevent such a deadly spree in the future. Usatoday.com reported on October 1, 2017, that a single gunman found a perfect shooting platform in Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay Hotel’s 32nd floor where he proceeded to open fire on county music fans who were attending the Route 91 Harvest Festival.
Fifty-eight people lost their lives in the ensuing carnage, and many others were seriously injured — such as Cynthia Ruiz, a single mom who lost her eye. Sheriff’s Deputy Jason McMillan took a career-ending bullet to his spine. More than 800 people were left with injuries, and the number of plaintiffs in the resulting lawsuit against MGM Resorts International rose to 4,500.
MGM Resorts offered a settlement to the class action lawsuit of $800 million, but that just started the legal scrambling and maneuvering as plaintiffs jockey for as large a settlement as possible. Two retired judges were tapped to handle the settlement funds distribution — one from Las Vegas and one from California where many of the plaintiffs live.
The mediators face the unenviable task of putting a dollar figure to the victims’ pain and suffering. The judges refused a request to explain how they would manage the cash awards from the $800 million fund, citing non-disclosure agreements with MGM Resorts’ team of attorneys.
Most shooting victims were forced to opt in for the settlement funds because of the cost and prolonged lead time of filing an individual lawsuit. Victims have the right to file their own lawsuits, but the cost of preparing a case for trial could run several million dollars, and there’s no guarantee that the award would even cover the legal fees.
The settlement monies come from MGM Resorts International and the company’s insurance coverage. The hotel agreed to pay $49 million, and the rest of the settlement money was provided by insurance. Those who decide to opt out of the settlement and pursue their own lawsuits reduce the number of plaintiffs splitting the $800 million.
The 4,500 plaintiffs can expect similar divisions to high-profile settlements from the past. According to reviewjournal.com, more than half of the victims come from Nevada and California, and the remaining plaintiffs come from eight other states. All of the victims claim psychological and physical injuries that qualify them for compensation.
Retired California Judge Louis Meisinger and Nevada County District Judge Jennifer Togliatti oversee the distribution of funds and have determined about 75 percent of the award value. Millions of dollars are presumably set aside for the most severely injured and wrongful death cases. The award amounts are probably determined by injury severity, cost of previous and future medical expenses, and the victim’s ability to resume work.
A minimum of $5,000 will be paid to any shooting victim, including all claimants who opted for the settlement. Those minimum awards are will be handed to victims who didn’t seek medical treatment and claim hidden injuries or psychological damage.
Spokesperson for the Settlement
Lawyer Eglet Adams represents almost 2,500 of the victims and serves as spokesperson for settlement issues. Adams revealed that the shooting started during the festival’s closing minutes while headliner Jason Aldean was performing with country stars Luke Combs and Jake Owen.
Backstage celebrities included Chris Young and radio personality Storme Warren. No Nashville residents were injured during the reign of terror that engulfed the Mandalay Bay Hotel.
If you are a Route 91 shooting victim, you should immediately contact an attorney (more details in the link). If you’re involved in another shooting incident, communicating with a personal injury attorney is a critical step in your claims process. An attorney will help you gather all your medical bills, expenses, estimates of future costs, and compensation claims to ensure you get a fair and just settlement.