Local firm plays role in $800M Vegas deal.
A Chicago law firm helped obtain a settlement with MGM Resorts International worth up to $800 million for thousands victims and relatives affected by the 2017 mass shooting at a Las Vegas music festival.
Romanucci & Blandin LLC attorneys Antonio M. Romanucci, Stephan D. Blandin and Bryce T. Hensley represented 76 individuals from 11 states and Canada — 13 of them from Illinois — in litigation against the hotel and casino business.
The firm served on the litigation steering committee, which drove the settlement process with lead counsel firm Eglet Adams in Las Vegas.
“The hope with this settlement is that while the people that were there won’t ever be able to forget it, they will be able to close out this chapter of their lives with peace and solace knowing they will receive some compensation for what they’ve been through, what they are going through and what they will continue to go through,” Hensley said in an interview.
The total settlement amount is expected to be at least $735 million and up to $800 million, depending on the number of claimants who opt in, Hensley said.
The settlement also dismisses all pending litigation, including the declaratory-relief actions filed by MGM Resorts.
The agreement comes almost exactly two years after a gunman perched in a 32nd floor suite at the Mandalay Bay Hotel opened fire on the Route 91 Harvest music festival concert grounds on Oct, 1, 2017. The event remains the most deadly mass shooting in U.S. history.
MGM Resorts owns both Mandalay Bay and the lot where the festival was held.
Stephen Paddock, 64, killed 58 concert-goers and injured hundreds of others. He killed himself before police swarmed the hotel room, where investigators found 23 assault-style weapons.
The group of plaintiffs also includes concert-goers with claims of pain and suffering and emotional distress.
An independent claims administrator will be appointed to evaluate and allocate the funds to each claimant. The process is expected to be completed by late 2020, according to an Eglet Adams news release.
Romanucci & Blandin attorneys filed lawsuits against the corporation and other defendants about a month and a half after the shooting. They eventually joined a larger plaintiffs’ committee and worked together to obtain a result, Hensley said.
One of the reasons why individuals reached out to the Chicago firm was due to their past experience representing a majority of the plaintiffs following the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Fla., Hensley said.
“What’s beneficial in retaining a firm like ours is we have the knowledge in handling these kinds of cases, we know what can be done,” he said.
Hensley said the agreement was “unprecedented” and he and his colleagues had a lot of respect for the ultimate result in these cases.
“Their constant refrain was, ‘We want these cases resolved,’” he said. “We had our doubts about whether or not that was really their motive, but as time went on it showed that’s what they did want. They wanted to provide compensation for the victims, they wanted to heal the community.”
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