US court approves US$800mil settlement in NEVADA mass shooting
A US court on Wednesday approved an US$800 million settlement for victims of America's worst mass shooting -- a rampage that left 58 dead and more than 800 wounded in Las Vegas.
In the October 2017 massacre, a man named Stephen Paddock opened fire with high-powered rifles from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, unleashing a lot more than 1,000 rounds as he mowed down people among a crowd attending an outdoor country music festival.
MGM Resorts International, the casino's owner, can pay $49 million "of its own funds" as the remainder is to result from its insurers, the court order stated.
The order said there had been "near-unanimous participation in the settlement" among a large number of potential claimants including victims and their own families.
"We are grateful that your choice brings families, victims and the community nearer to closure," MGM said in a statement to AFP on Wednesday.
"It is especially meaningful that your choice comes one day before the third anniversary of the incident, a time of great sadness and reflection."
A youthful statement said the settlement does not total an admission of liability by MGM Resorts.
MGM was sued by victims on grounds of negligence for
allowing Paddock to stockpile a large amount guns and ammunition in his accommodation without being noticed.
In 2018 it launched a counter-suit aimed at forcing the plaintiffs to drop their suits on grounds that MGM Resorts isn't liable.
An outline of the settlement was initially announced last October, with MGM saying in a statement that
"prolonged litigation around these matters is in no one's best interest.
In her order Wednesday, Clark County District Court Judge Linda Bell noted "the extraordinary work and effort by counsel in this case to attain the maximum amount open to claimants... despite having an immensely difficult, unique, and tragic set of circumstances."
Paddock was found dead in his hotel room with a self-inflicted gunshot. In August 2018 authorities ended their probe of the shooting without learning Paddock's motive. -- AFP