July 18, 2018

The National Law Journal and Law360 quote Dismas Locaria in an article about how MGM is using the SAFETY Act to protect itself from liability

2 min

On July 18 and 19, 2018, Dismas Locaria was quoted in the National Law Journal and Law360 in articles about how MGM Resorts International has filed nine lawsuits across the country against the 2,500 victims of the October 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas.

The lawsuits seek to relieve MGM as not liable for the mass shooting and cites the Support Anti-Terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies Act of 2002 (SAFETY Act), a law passed in the wake of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that encourage the development of security technologies and services certified by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which in turn protects companies from liability for injuries or deaths to mass violence.

Mr. Locaria noted in the interview with the National Law Journal, "As far as I know, this is the very first time the SAFETY Act has been tested. It's definitely gotten a lot of people's attention in my industry. We're actively watching what happens here. But it's all new ground, candidly."

Despite MGM retaining a security services provider that is certified by DHS, Kirstjen Nielsen, DHS Secretary, still has to declare the shooting an act of terrorism, and no mass shootings have been designated as such thus far, which could prove to be a challenge for MGM in their case.

Locaria noted in an interview with Law360 that the safer move would've been for MGM to play defense and raise SAFETY Act arguments within the context of the active lawsuits. I would've first sought the declaration of an act of terrorism, let that play out first, and then if you get that declaration you can move to dismiss under the act. It'll be interesting to see whether the judges in the cases believe they have the authority to make the declaratory judgment when the statute provides that it's a determination reserved for the DHS."