An attorney representing families affected by Sunday's tragedy on the Las Vegas Strip is getting ready to file a lawsuit involving the shooter, MGM, and music festival organizers.
Richard A. Patterson, an attorney with Owen Patterson & Owen, took the first step on Friday afternoon at the Regional Justice Center by filing a request for the shooter's assets to stay frozen upon the completion of a federal investigation. He requested that Clark County Public Administrator John Cahill should have control in order to allow one or more lawsuits to be pursued by victims and their families.
"He should be held responsible even after he's gone and committed suicide," Patterson said. "Whether he has a million dollars, five million, or ten million dollars, it's a pittance compared to the damages these people incurred."
Patterson filed the petition while standing side-by-side with client Travis Phippen, a 24-year-old paramedic who was with his dad John Phippen at the Route 91 Harvest Festival.
John was shot and killed. Travis was shot in the arm, and the bullet is still lodged inside. The paramedic broke down and cried describing what happened to his family that night.
"We were just having a good time. We were dancing and singing songs and just having fun, and (my dad) showed no fear at all," Travis cried. "Him and I, we both helped these girls that were in front of us and we covered them up and I started helping other people that were getting shot and he stayed with me. He wasn't afraid. He was there with me. He didn't want to leave me... I knew that he'd be with me no matter what. That's just the kind of guy he was."
"(My dad) taught us everything about being strong, whether it was physically, mentally, or emotionally," brother Nathan Phippen said. "We lost somebody that we love and a big part of our family, and now we're just trying to pick up the pieces."
The Phippen brothers said they haven't had time yet to think about the person who shot their father. They said their number one priority is trying to stay strong and protect their family.
Patterson did not say when his lawsuit will be filed, but he listed numerous concerns with the parties involved.
"When you have a patron that is on the suspicious list, treat him as if he's suspicious. Do what you need to do to know why he's coming and going," Patterson said. "MGM will be one of the primary targets... they knew there was something different about this man."
"How long did it take the Mandalay Bay to put up the metal detectors after the shooting?" he continued. "When you go out of Target you have to go through metal detectors... They have a duty to be more watchful and protective of the hotel attendants and concert goers."
Patterson also stated that he believes there should have been more exits at the music festival and that the gunman should not have been gifted the hotel room used to carry out the shooting. The attorney, who has experience with mass tort claims and class action lawsuits, stated he would be willing to represent more victims who come forward to seek legal assistance.
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