LAS VEGAS (CN) — A woman wounded in the Las Vegas massacre has sued the owners of the Mandalay Bay hotel and festival venue, the concert promoter and a bump-stock maker, claiming they all bear some responsibility for the Oct. 1 tragedy.
The lawsuit by 21-year-old college student Paige Gasper of California specifically faults MGM Resorts International, which owns the Mandalay Bay Resort hotel and the open-air concert venue across the street, for not responding promptly after Stephen Paddock wounded a hotel security guard minutes before taking aim at 30,000 country music concertgoers 32 stories below.
Paddock killed 58 people, then himself, and wounded nearly 500 attending the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival in the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
Gasper’s lawsuit in Clark County Court also names as defendants Paddock’s estate, concert promoter Live Nation Entertainment and bump-stock manufacturer Slide Fire Solutions, as well as MGM subsidiary Mandalay Corp. and Live Nation entity OneNationGroup.
Her lawsuit appears to be the first filed against Mandalay Bay and Live Nation, although three people who attended the festival filed a class action last week against Slide Fire and other unidentified bump-stock companies.
An MGM Resorts spokeswoman said in a statement that “out of respect for the victims, we are not going to try this case in the public domain, and we will give our response through the appropriate legal channels.” She called the massacre “a meticulously planned, evil senseless act.”
Representatives of Slide Fire could not be reached Wednesday.
Gaper was shot under her right arm, according to her 19-page lawsuit. The bullet cut through breast tissue, shattered ribs and lacerated her liver before exiting. She was “rendered physically incapacitated” by her injuries.
Friends tried to help her escape, but they were trampled by the panicked crowd. A good Samaritan helped her hide behind a metal trash bin, and another good Samaritan eventually helped her into his truck. He drove her and other injured people to a hospital.
“Plaintiff Gasper was the only survivor amongst the passengers in the good Samaritan’s truck,” the complaint states.
Gasper is represented by Nathan Morris with Bighorn Law in Las Vegas, and lawyers with three Texas law firms: Michelle Simpson Tuegel with Hunt & Tuegel in Waco, Muhammad Aziz with Abraham Watkins Nichols Sorrels Agosto Aziz in Houston, C. Chad Pinkerton, also from Houston.
She seeks compensatory damages, costs and punitive on nine counts, including negligence, gross negligence, failure to warn, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress and product liability.
Negligence counts include not checking people coming into the hotel, not keeping watch in the hallways and allowing Paddock to bring nearly two dozen guns to his room, set up his own surveillance system and open his windows.
She also calls out the hotel for “failing to timely respond or otherwise act upon Paddock’s shooting of Mandalay Bay Security Officer Jesus Campos, who had gone to the 32nd floor to check on an alert coming from another guest room, and who was shot six minutes prior to Paddock’s commencement of shooting towards the concert venue.”
Las Vegas police announced Monday that Paddock shot Campos before starting his assault on the concertgoers. Previously, they believed Campos was shot during or after the massacre.
Several of Gasper’s attorneys told news outlets that whatever did or did not happen during those six minutes will be crucial to their case.
“We will never know what could’ve been done in that six minutes, because nothing was done,” Pinkerton told CNN.
The allegations against Slide Fire and other unnamed bump-stock makers state that Paddock had a dozen of the devices, “which enabled him to fire bullets rapidly, mimicking automatic fire.”
Two members of the House of Representatives last week announced bipartisan legislation to ban bump stocks. Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California also has introduced a bill to limit them.
Gasper’s lawsuit says her damages exceed $15,000; her attorneys said that it too early to determine the actual amount.
They and Gasper’s mother, Heather Selken, told news outlets that the suit is not about money but about forcing changes to improve safety.