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Horres and Bashor Lead Wilson Elser Team to Historic Settlement for the Deadliest Mass Shooting in U.S. History

October 14, 2020

Stratton Horres (Partner-Dallas) and Karen Bashor (Partner-Las Vegas) represented MGM Resorts International and other MGM entities in a case arising from the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history on October 1, 2017, involving more than 22,000 concert attendees in Las Vegas, Nevada, that tragically resulted in 58 dead and thousands injured. The settlement of this matter was approved by the Eighth Judicial District Court of Clark County in Las Vegas on Wednesday, September 30, 2020, one day shy of the third anniversary of the shooting.

Shortly after the event, Wilson Elser was brought into the case to serve as monitoring counsel, but in just a few months MGM selected Wilson Elser to take on a defense counsel role with another firm, given our breadth and depth of experience in complex torts and catastrophic claims, particularly with the proposed team. The Wilson Elser team included Stratton as lead partner along with Karen, David Kahn (Of Counsel-San Francisco), Ralph Robinson (Partner-San Francisco Ret.) and Scott Tropio (Partner-Los Angeles). A pivotal point in the litigation was MGM’s filing of declaratory relief actions against 1,977 defendants in July 2018 pursuant to the Support Anti-Terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies Act of 2002 (SAFETY Act) in nine district courts. While the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) did not allow for centralization of the actions, the strategy taken with the SAFETY Act resulted in plaintiffs agreeing to mediate. More than 4,000 claimants represented by nearly 80+ law firms across the country participated in a total of 13 days of mediation in Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Stratton and Karen evaluated each of the potential 4,000+ claims, and with the assistance of their teams in Las Vegas and Dallas created a detailed, extensive and critical exposure analysis. Stratton attended the entire mediation that culminated in the global settlement after nearly six months of additional negotiations. Karen and Stratton then worked with the Claims Processor and the plaintiffs’ leadership group to confirm participation of a large volume of claimants across various injury categories for the next year. The court’s approval of the parties’ Motion for Good Faith Settlement Determination resolved 4,069 claims for $800 million. This settlement (the 1 October Fund) is the first of its kind in Nevada history and ensures that families of the victims will receive fair compensation without years of prolonged litigation and appeals. The mutual releases, both between Plaintiffs and Defendants and among Defendants and their Insurers, ensures resolution for all parties to the Settlement Agreement.

Contributing to the success of this settlement at various points during the three-year litigation were Jorge Ramirez (Partner-Las Vegas, also licensed in Arizona), B. Otis Felder (Of Counsel- Los Angeles, also licensed in Alaska), Anthony Strasius (Partner- Miami), Scott Sweeney (Of Counsel- Denver, also licensed in Utah) and Lee Cameron (Partner-Dallas). Additional Dallas team members were Heather Cate (executive assistant), Jane Myers (legal records clerk) and Sharon Sonkin (legal nurse consultant). Additional Las Vegas team members included Angela Clark (senior paralegal); Associate Vatana Lay; Of Counsel Mark Severino; Associates I-Che Lai, Christopher Phipps and Jonathan Patillo; Of Counsel Douglas Rowan; and Annemarie Gourley (legal secretary).

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