Court filing aims to prevent lawsuits by Alaska victims in Las Vegas shooting

MGM Resorts International is seeking to prevent lawsuits from being filed against it related to the mass shooting in Las Vegas last year, including in Alaska federal court.

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A gunman firing from his hotel room window killed 58 people, including at least two Alaskans, and injured many others attending the Route 91 Harvest music festival in October. MGM owns the hotel from which the gunman shot and has filed preemptive lawsuits against the victims or family members of victims.

The lawsuit filed in Alaska this week names six defendants. It does not seek any monetary award. Instead, MGM wants a judicial declaration that it was not liable in any way for the attack. The PBS NewsHour reported about 2,500 people had sued or threatened to sue MGM and that the company responded with lawsuits similar to the one filed in Alaska.

MGM declined a request for an interview but issued a written statement saying the six defendants had all expressed interest in suing the company or had done so already. The MGM lawsuit says security for the festival was certified by the Department of Homeland Security and therefore MGM is not liable due to provisions in federal anti-terrorism legislation.

But legal experts say the gunman’s motivations are unknown, so its unclear if the shooting constituted terrorism and whether the legislation applies.

Anchorage resident Avonna Murfitt’s son Adrien died in the shooting and she is named as a defendant in the MGM lawsuit.

In an interview after the shooting in October she said Andrien was a graduate of Dimond High School, a commercial fisherman, and a country music fan.

“He was just enjoying life, and it’s just such a terrible thing that happened,” Murfitt said. “Just a young man enjoying life, having a good time after a hard season of work.”

In a text message Friday, Murfitt called the MGM lawsuit “absurd and outrageous” and said it had again brought up the pain of losing her son.