The owners of the Las Vegas resort from where 58 people were killed in America’s worst-ever mass shooting have sued the victims, in a bid to prevent them taking legal action against the company.
MGM Resorts International, which owns the Mandalay Bay hotel and the Route 91 music festival, where the victims were gathered on October 1, has filed lawsuits against more than 1,000 victims.
The suits, filed in federal courts in California and Nevada, argue that MGM cannot be held liable for deaths and injuries from the mass shooting under a 2002 law passed by Congress.
The law gives immunity to companies that use "anti-terrorism" technology or services that can "help prevent and respond to mass violence".
MGM argue that the security company made use of such technology.
Debra DeShong, a spokesman for MGM, said that the action was being taken in the best interests of victims.
"Years of drawn out litigation and hearings are not in the best interest of victims, the community and those still healing," she said.
The complaint does not seek money from the victims, but instead seeks to have their cases moved to a federal court – where the 2002 federal act may provide more protection for MGM.
Ms DeShong, however, insisted that the action was being taken because federal courts would provide swifter justice for the victims.
"Congress provided that the federal courts were the correct place for such litigation relating to incidents of mass violence like this one where security services approved by the Department of Homeland Security were provided," she said. "The federal court is an appropriate venue for these cases and provides those affected with the opportunity for a timely resolution.”
Lawsuits have been filed against both MGM and concert promoter Live Nation, accusing the companies of not having adequate security or properly trained staff.
Yet a lawyer for at least 900 of the victims, Robert Eglet, called the pre-emptive action “outrageous”.
The FBI has yet to call the mass shooting that took place in Las Vegas an act of terrorism, because the motive of the gunman, Stephen Paddock, remains unclear.
Mr Eglet told The Telegraph that MGM’s actions were "reprehensible".
He said they were trying to claim that the 2002 act would give them immunity from suits.
"So to suggest they are trying to prevent the victims from suing is simply not true."
He said the 2002 act is irrelevant, because the security company employed by the concert promoters had nothing to do with the hotel and resort. He also said it would not apply anyway, because Paddock’s attack has not been classed as terrorism.
"And it won’t be classed as terrorism," he said. "All evidence points to a lone individual."
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He said it was distressing for those caught up in the attack to be "victimised twice".