LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- The MGM Grand Hotel, hit with hundreds of lawsuits by victims of the 1980 fire that claimed 85 lives, settled most of the suits for a total of $138 million, officials said.
In court documents on file, U.S. District Judge Louis Bechtle of Philadelphia said Wednesday $75 million of the $138 million in settlements came from the MGM Grand Hotel and $63 million from other defendants including architects, the general hotel contractor, subcontractors, material suppliers and inspectors.
The fire resulted in one of the largest and most complicated court cases in the country's history. A 10-member Plaintiffs Legal Committee was appointed to negotiate for the hundreds of lawyers involved.
More than 1,000 people were injured in the Nov. 21, 1980, Las Vegas Strip fire that broke out in the early morning hours, sending smoke and flames through the highrise resort.
Initially more than 1,300 people filed law suits seeking some $350 million in damages. The settlement breakdown included $92.4 million for 67 death claims, $40.5 million for 1,021 personal injury claims and $2 million in property damage and business loss claims.
The largest single settlement, totaling $9 million, went to the heirs of Fernando and Suzanne Lobo, a Mexico City couple who died in the fire.
Of the 118 defendants in the massive litigation, 60 defendants have settled. Judge Bechtle dismissed suits against 21 defendants. Another 37 defendants have failed to negotiate settlements.
A July trial date was removed from the federal court calendar last month and Bechtle has not set a new date.