Like many of you, the team at GoldenbergLaw has spent the last two weeks reflecting on the events of the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. Our hearts go out to these victims but these people need more than our sympathy. As attorneys, we dedicate our lives to seeking justice for victims of negligence and wrongdoing.
Sadly, hundreds of individuals were victims of negligence and wrongdoing that day, and it causes us to wonder: What did the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino know? When did they know it? What did they do about it? Here, we explore the tragic event through a different lens, examining the potential negligence of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. And yes, lawsuits have already been filed against the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, the shooter’s estate, as well as the manufacturer of the “bump stocks” used in the shooting. But for this article, we will focus on negligent security.
What are the legal standards for negligent security in Nevada?
In Doud v. Las Vegas Hilton Corp., 109 Nev. 1096, (1993), the Nevada Supreme Court held that to establish a negligence claim for innkeeper liability, a Plaintiff must show: (1) duty, (2) breach, (3) proximate causation, and (4) damages. Id. at 1100. At the outset, the Court reiterated that Nevada has adopted the Restatement of Torts, Third with respect to an Innkeeper’s duty to protect against third party criminal conduct. The Restatement provides that:
Since the possessor is not an insurer of the visitor’s safety, he is ordinarily under no
duty to exercise any care until he knows or has reason to know that the acts of the
third person are occurring, or are about to occur. He may, however, know or have
reason to know, from past experience, that there is a likelihood of conduct on the part
of third persons in general which is likely to endanger the safety of the visitor, even
though he has no reason to expect it on the part of any particular individual. If the
place or character of his business, or his past experience, is such that he should
reasonably anticipate careless or criminal conduct on the part of third persons, either
generally or at some particular time, he may be under a duty to take precautions
against it, and to provide a reasonably sufficient number of servants to afford a
What did Mandalay Bay know or have reason to know?
While facts can certainly change, here it what has been reported in the press. Before the shooting occurred, the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino had knowledge that:
- 64-year-old Stephen Paddock checked into the hotel on Friday, September 30 with 10 large suitcases.
- During Paddock’s three-day stay, he kept a Do Not Disturb sign on his door to keep employees from entering.
- Despite receiving a complimentary room and having a casino host to facilitate his gambling, he did not gamble for the last two days of his stay.
On the night of October 1, they discovered:
- Someone on the 32nd floor was shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival attendees
- One of their employees, a hotel security staff, was shot by Paddock in the hallway of the 32nd floor
When did they know it?
Knowing what happened is important, but even more important is knowing when things happened. Investigators are uncovering when Mandalay Bay had knowledge of these things. Knowing what happened is important, but even more important is knowing when things happened. Investigators are uncovering when Mandalay Bay had knowledge of these things.
10:05 PM Paddock begins his 10-minute rampage on the crowd of the Route 91 Harvest Festival, killing 58 and injuring another 489 concert-goers. He also shoots the hotel security officer during this time. The security guard radios to the hotel that there is an active shooter on the 32nd floor.
10:17 PM Two police officers arrive on the 32nd floor.
10:26 -10:30 PM Eight more officers arrive on the 32nd floor.
10:55 PM Eight additional officers arrive in the stairwell near Paddock’s room.
11:20 PM Over an hour later, police officers enter the room to find Paddock’s body and weapons.
This timeline has been altered numerous times, but why? Previously, the timeline had Paddock shooting the hotel security officer at 9:59 pm, leaving six minutes before he shot at the crowd. This made many wonder: What was occurring in those six minutes? Now after the hotel has challenged the timeline, it has been changed to Paddock shooting the security guard during the ten minutes he shot at the crowd. Only time will tell if this is correct. But what was happening during the 10 minutes where bullets rained down on the crowd and security had already notified the hotel of the shooter and his location?
What did they do about it?
So, with the knowledge they had, what did Mandalay Bay do about it? What about the hundreds of cameras throughout the hotel? What about all the surveillance tapes? Did any employees feel suspicious about the 10 large suitcases Paddock brought in with him for a three-day visit? Did anyone question why he left a Do Not Disturb sign on his door during his entire stay? Were employees doing their usual rounds to see that Paddock had installed two cameras on hotel property? Most significantly, the hotel’s own security guards had notified the hotel they had an active shooter on the 32nd floor. But it was over 12 minutes until anyone else arrived. It could be argued that Mandalay Bay did nothing with the knowledge they had.
What could happen?
Obviously, the shooter is primarily responsible for this horrible tragedy. However, if it is found that the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino had information and did not act reasonably to protect the public, they could be found partially at fault for failing to prevent this shooting. They could owe significant compensation to the victims.
GoldenbergLaw has been investigating and pursuing negligent security cases for 32 years. We are investigating the Las Vegas shooting claims.