Immediately after the Vegas shooting last fall that left 58 people dead, Live Nation, which promoted the festival, said it would vehemently fight for the victims who came under gunfire.
“Live Nation will do everything in our power to support the victims and their families through the aftermath of this horrendous event and extends our deepest gratitude to the heroic first responders who helped save as many lives as possible,” the company said in a statement days after Stephen Paddock opened fire at the popular Route 91 Harvest musical festival.
But five months after the shooting, the company still has not fully refunded the tickets to all those who attended the festival and ended up witnessing the deadliest mass shooting in American history.
Lawyers for the victims have filed a class-action lawsuit against Live Nation in order to collect full refunds for all 22,000 attendees of the three-day country music festival last October.
"As we were interviewing several hundred of our clients, we realized some had received refunds and some had not. It didn't matter if they were family members of deceased, gunshot victims or traumatized because of the shooting and their escape,” said lawyer Craig Eiland, a Texas attorney who is part of the legal team filing the suit. “The only factor was that those that heard about a refund through Facebook or friends and demanded a refund, got it. So we decided to make one demand on behalf of everyone."
Mark Robinson, a lawyer representing a couple who has not gotten a refund yet, filed the suit in Orange County, Calif. Live Nation is headquartered in Beverly Hills.
"Orange County is home to a significant number of people who purchased tickets to the concert," Robinson said in a statement. "We didn't think it was fair that some who privately asked for refunds got them, when really everybody who bought a ticket deserves a full refund."
Some concertgoers received full refunds after dealing with the matter in the initial days and months after the shooting. But hundreds, or thousands, of others who paid $200 to $300 to attend the three-day festival – and ended up experiencing a night of horror – have not gotten their money back.
Live Nation did not return repeated requests for comment and, at this point, there has been no collective effort by the entertainment company to reimburse and refund all the concertgoers.
Attorney David Di Pietro, who is not affiliated with the lawsuit, said the lawsuit could come down to whether the tragic event could have been prevented.
“The ticketholders are gonna argue, ‘Well it’s a negligence in security, you did not provide sufficient security, it’s your fault’ and that’s the reason why the concert was unable to go forward,’ he said.
But, he added, this is not a clear-cut case.
“This case is unique because the foreseeability of a terrorist attack because of an airport through an airline because of 9/11 is seen in society as foreseeable,” he said. “This was a once-in-a-lifetime event where the foreseeability of this happening is really a shock for everybody. It’s going to be hard to hold the concert company liable.”
Some survivors of the shooting said the plaintiffs are focusing on the wrong issue. They should instead focus on helping the community heal, they said.
“Really, like that’s what’s important to you? Is it getting your $200 or $300 back? Heather Gooze, who was a bartender at the concert, said. “Now you’re just almost kind of making a mockery of it.”