Federal Judge Richard Boulware wants to know what services provided by the security firm hired to work the Route 91 Festival are certified by the Homeland Security Department.
MGM Resorts International is trying to limit its liability for the October 1, 2017 shooting massacre on the Las Vegas Strip by claiming the security company, Contemporary Services Corporation (CSC), is covered under the federal SAFETY Act, a law enacted after the 9/11 terrorism attacks to defray liability for vendors who develop anti-terrorism technologies.
Stephen Paddock killed 58 people and injured more than 800 when he opened fire on a concert crowd across the street from his Mandalay Bay suite.
Boulware questioned how Contemporary Services Corporation’s services extended beyond people showing up and donning t-shirts. He wants a CSC representative deposed as well as an MGM Festival Grounds representative familiar with the agreement between the companies.
CSC offers event security in 22 states, according to its website, which includes a 14 second video inviting job applicants for “part-time employment” and “flexible schedules” at “the world’s greatest events.”
“The causation of these people getting shot was what happened at the MGM (Mandalay Bay), not at the fairgrounds across the street, and MGM cannot claim they somehow have the same immunity protections for a security company they didn’t contract with,” said attorney Robert Eglet, who represents a handful of plaintiffs suing MGM Resorts International. “They’re not mentioned in this contract,”
Eglet argued the hotel giant failed to provide any evidence the mass shooting meets the criteria required by the SAFETY Act – chief among them a designation by Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen of the event as terrorism.
Boulware expressed frustration with the federal law’s lack of procedure and timeline for such a designation. A spokesperson for Nielsen told the Current there is no time limit on the secretary’s ability to designate an act as terrorism.
“There’s no evidence that CSC deployed any QATT (qualified anti-terrorism technology) in response to that or to prevent that,” Eglet told Boulware. “In fact there’s nothing that CSC could have done because the shooting and the reason the shooter was able to engage in this was because of the negligence of the MGM in allowing him to bring this arsenal of weapons and fully automatic assault rifles and ammunition up to his room, stockpile it and all the other things that went on in respect to what led up to them having plenty of notice and not doing anything about it.”