MGM Resorts International on Tuesday offered survivors of the Las Vegas mass shooting the option of having the money that would be used to serve them a lawsuit donated to charity instead, drawing rebuke from victims’ attorneys.
The company filed lawsuits against more than 1,900 victims of the Oct. 1 mass shooting in July in its attempt to avoid years of costly litigation.
MGM has been working to notify the victims under a 90-day deadline. The casino operator has told victims attorneys that it would rather make charitable donations than spend the money to have people to serve the legal notices.
“The money spent on personal service of process — up to $250 per person — could be better directed to do some affirmative good,” MGM’s attorneys wrote in the letter shared with The Associated Press.
For each person who waives being served or authorizes an attorney to accept the legal notices, MGM will make a $500 donation to a charity in his or her name that supports survivors or families of slain victims.
If the offers are not accepted, MGM “will personally serve the complaints courteously and respectfully,” said MGM spokeswoman Debra DeShong.
Letters explaining the offers went sent to 37 attorneys for the victims.
Robert Eglet, part of a group representing most of the victims, said the company is trying to “spin” its attempt to save money on serving the legal notices.
“It will cost the MGM significantly more than $250 to serve them,” Eglet said. “This is just more outrageous conduct by them.”
The firms representing most of the victims have not been authorized to accept the legal notices, Eglet said, which would leave MGM with the task of serving each of the 1,977 people it sued.
When a lawsuit is filed, the defendant is served a copy of the complaint against them and they have 21 days to respond.
The suit comes almost year after a gunman killed 58 people and injured more than 800 from his 32nd floor suite of the MGM-owned Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. More than 22,000 people were at the outdoor venue for a country music festival.
The company is attempting have a federal judge rule that it is not liable to survivors or families of slain victims under a law enacted after the Sept. 11 attacks.
Under the law, liability is limited when a company or group uses services approved by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. MGM argues it is free of such responsibility because the security vendor at the festival was federally certified at the time of the attack.
The Associated Press contributed to this report