|Posted on December 30, 2017 at 6:25 PM|
There are far too many unanswered questions concerning the horrific shooting of hundreds of innocent victims attending a concert across from the MGM’s Mandalay Bay Casino earlier this month. As any perceptive investigator knows, the answers can be found in the “Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How” of the situation.
We know who did it- an evil, sick man. We also know what he did in the slaughter of scores and wounding of hundreds of lawful business guests of MGM and Live Nation. We know when and where it happened. It does not much matter why he committed this atrocity; What matters most is the how.
In order to achieve even a modicum of justice for the injured victims, it is of the utmost urgency to uncover the landlord’s negligence and shortcomings that contributed to the proximate cause of the deadly rampage. The defendants had a legal and moral duty to provide a reasonable standard of security and protect their vulnerable guests from harm. What follows are some major concerns about how the barbaric attack actually happened:
How foreseeable was it? Establishing the foreseeability factor is key in determining the reasonable level of security required to meet the prevalent risk. How do you establish that level of risk? It requires the services of a competent and able safety and security expert to identify the risk and recommend what level of security is required to meet that risk. The typical analysis begins with looking for and evaluating previous similar crimes or incidents. It is accurately stated that “the past is prologue to the future.”
A quick study of risk management tells us that if a type of incident has occurred in similar areas and venues previously, there is a higher probability of it happening again. It also means there is a higher standard of security/preventive action, etc. required to be in place. Mass terrorist attacks have been occurring with higher and higher frequency since the start of this century. Las Vegas has been a key potential target in the past. Remember, the 9/11 terrorists were “scoping out” the Vegas Strip just prior to their deadly attack on the WTC Twin Towers. Aside from the international terrorism threats, it should be noted that domestic terrorism and mass shooting are also on the rise with ever larger body counts.
Given the prevalent threat and foreseeable risk, it will be difficult for MGM and Live Nations’ defense attorneys to support a position that no additional security was required with the history of such ongoing worldwide terrorist attacks.
How reasonable was the MGM and Live Nations’ security in face of the obvious foreseeable risk? A fact of life remains that professional security is expensive. Sometimes, even when the corporation’s management knows that there is need for more robust security, they just don’t spend the money for risk surveys and reasonable safety and security. This expert was recently involved in a casino negligent security case (Binns v Caesar’s) where a novel concept of “Abatement of Security” perpetrated by the nation’s largest casino hotel company was successfully raised and proved. It went to the heart of the negligent security matter. Unfortunately, corporate management cut too many corners on security and surveillance. In other words, the defendants once had reasonable security performed by professionals but decimated it in order to save money! This is a classic example of being “penny wise and pound foolish.”
MGM is the second largest casino hotel company in the country that has the greatest presence on the famous Las Vegas strip. Initial research into the lame qualifications of the defendant’s security personnel at their Mandalay Bay Casino Hotel strongly suggests that “Abatement of Security” is prevalent in that MGM property as well. Live Nations’ multi-billion entertainment corporation also has a poor history in providing reasonable security for concert goers as evidenced in previous cases handled by this expert. (Putillo v Tweeter Center)
There are several other important “How’s” that need to be carefully addressed in this matter. How could “Willful Ignorance” on the part of the defendants play a significant role in this matter? How probable is “Spoliation of Evidence” given the absence of important evidentiary material coming from the defendants, including misleading and conflicting time line accounts on important details such as response times? Plaintiffs’ attorneys are likely to face the all too common defense ploys of the three D’s: deny, delay and deception on the part of those who represent the damned in this matter.
Consideration of the above particulars provide some “food for thought” on behalf of plaintiff’s attorneys attempting to bring justice and compensation for their grievously injured clients.
Practitioners would be well advised to heed the sage advice of John Elliott Leighton, Esq., the premier attorney on “Litigating Premises Security Cases” (Thomson West, 2006). Leighton points out the necessity for an expert in inadequate security cases and recommends, “Pay careful attention to the items sought by the expert and work with the experts in formulating document requests and interrogatories for the lawsuit.” The bottom line here is that listening to your experienced security expert, especially one who knows where to look and how to gain important evidence to make your case a winning one, is definitely the way to go.
Andrew P. Sutor is a Principal at Sutor & Associates, LLC, which provides professional security consultation and expert witness services for law firms and attorneys pursuing premises liability and negligent security cases. He can be reached at [email protected] or at 609.822.2626
Categories: Premises Security Cases