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Federal judicial panel rejects MGM Resorts' lawsuit centralization request

Jackie Valley
Jackie Valley
IndyBlogOctober 1
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A shattered window on the 32nd floor at the Mandalay Bay

A federal judicial panel charged with determining whether civil lawsuits pending in different districts should be centralized has denied MGM Resorts’ request to do so regarding litigation related to last year’s mass shooting in Las Vegas.

The United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation issued its “order denying transfer” on Wednesday. The judges noted that “centralization will not serve the convenience of the parties and witnesses or further the just and efficient conduct of this litigation.”

The gaming company filed lawsuits in July against more than 1,900 people who had previously sued or have threatened to sue MGM Resorts over the shooting, which left 58 people dead and hundreds more injured. The gunman situated himself in a hotel room at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, which MGM Resorts owns, and fired into the Route 91 Harvest country music festival across the street.

MGM Resorts is seeking a declaration that it couldn’t be held liable for the shooting because of a little-known federal law known as the SAFETY Act. In doing so, the gaming company had asked for the lawsuits it filed against the victims in various states — as well as four civil cases filed by victims that name MGM Resorts as a defendant — to be centralized.

The panel rejected MGM Resorts’ argument that centralization was needed because the litigation could expand greatly.

“With dismissal and remand motions pending in all actions, it is possible that, instead of expanding, the federal litigation will lose its multidistrict character or cease altogether,” the judges wrote in their decision. “As the contours of this litigation are not yet apparent, centralization is not appropriate.”

MGM officials said they respected the panel’s decision and would continue litigation in the districts where the actions are pending.

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