NEW YORK (Reuters) – Victims of mass shootings in the United States often win little or no damages from perpetrators but the Las Vegas massacre may be different because the shooter is thought to have been a wealthy man, lawyers said.
While there are often few assets to collect from the young men who typically carry out these killings, Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock, 64, is thought to have had multi-million-dollar investments in buildings across Texas and California.
Paddocks’s estate has become a target for claimants in a case where victims and their families face an uphill battle holding liable the hotel and musical festival where the shooting rampage took place.
“It definitely depends on the assets in the estate whether you pursue that claim,” said Theida Salazar, a Los Angeles attorney who represented one of the victim’s families in the 2015 shooting in San Bernadino, California.
Paddock killed 58 people and injured hundreds more on Oct. 1 when he fired into the crowd gathered for a country music festival from his 32nd-floor suite at the Las Vegas Mandalay Bay hotel. The gunman killed himself before he could be apprehended.
His estate was named as a defendant in a complaint filed last week in Nevada state court. Attorneys who brought that action said they are planning to file more lawsuits.
Plaintiff Paige Gasper, who was wounded in the shooting, accused Paddock of battery and the intentional infliction of emotional distress. She also sued MGM Resorts International (MGM.N), the owner of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino; event organizer Live Nation Entertainment (LYV.N) and the maker of a gun accessory Paddock used, Slide Fire Solution.
Another lawsuit on behalf of a California woman, Andrea Castilla, killed in the shooting was filed on Tuesday against the same defendants.
Eric Paddock, the shooter’s brother, did not respond to a request for comment, but he previously told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that he was administering his brother’s estate for the benefit of his victims.
MGM and Live Nation declined to comment on pending litigation. Slide Fire never responded to a request for comment.