On Sunday October 1st hundreds of people attending a country music festival in Las Vegas were injured and many killed in one of the deadliest mass shootings in modern day U.S. history. Perched nearby in a high-rise suite at Mandalay Bay Hotel, the gunman Stephen Paddock shot concert-goers and ultimately took his own life. The question on many people’s minds is: Should the hotel be partially liable for the actions leading to the death of 58 people and personal injury of hundreds more?
Negligence Liability On Behalf of Mandalay Bay?
Ordinarily a hotel or any other business would not be responsible for the actions of a third party perpetrator resulting in harm or injury to other guests or patrons. However, in this situation, there are alleged instances of negligence concerning the preparedness and awareness of the security team at Mandalay Bay.
- The volume of weapons brought up to the room. Paddock had 23 guns, including AR-15 and AK-47-style rifles, in his hotel room, with hundreds of rounds of ammunition, allegedly bringing them up in 10 suitcases. It is not unreasonable to expect that the security staff would be trained to detect suspicious activity like this and notify the appropriate parties.
- The security measures at a hotel this size could be considered highly inadequate, given its capacity and location. It may be reasonable to expect that a hotel the size of Mandalay Bay would have put together various exercises and models on how to deal with threats similar to this.
- How was Stephen Paddock able to install surveillance cameras outside of his hotel room and inside the hotel room without raising suspicion or being detected by hotel security cameras or staff.
Conceal and Carry in Las Vegas:
Las Vegas has very specific conceal and carry laws, but hotels may not be bound by them. It is up to each individual hotel to allow occupants to enter with weapons. It’s not uncommon for people to visit Las Vegas to attend a weapons convention or to go to a shooting range, so it’s not completely unusual to see someone enter the property with a number of weapons. It is reasonable, however to assume that if someone were enter the property with hundreds of rounds of ammunition it may be cause for suspicion.
Tighter Hotel Security Moving Forward?
Given what transpired at Mandalay Bay, hospitality boards, hotel owners and tourism authorities will most likely be reexamining their safety and security rules and guidelines to help ensure the safety of guests and the general public. Some of the solutions needed may be:
- Larger and better trained security staff.
- Metal detectors
- Baggage screening areas
- Tougher security standards for larger hotels
The majority of hotels in the United States do not have metal detectors or baggage screening areas located near their entryways. Perhaps these are needed moving forward. Do we need tighter security at hotels and businesses here in Massachusetts and Rhode Island to prevent severe catastrophic injury and wrongful death from future incidents like this?
*The above is not to be considered as legal advice. Every case is different and the laws which apply may differ from state to state.