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Survivors of Aurora Shooting Ordered to Pay Theater’s $700,000 Legal Bill

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Century Aurora 16 movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. (Photo: Reuters/Evan Semon)

Century Aurora 16 movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. (Photo: Reuters/Evan Semon)

Four survivors of the July 20, 2012, movie theater massacre in Aurora, Colo., are on the hook for nearly $700,000 in legal fees after their lawsuit against Cinemark failed earlier this year. A Colorado law allows the winning side of civil cases to seek costs from the plaintiffs, and a judge ruled this week in favor of the theater, ordering the plaintiffs to pay Cinemark’s hefty legal bill.

Over 40 survivors of the attack have been trying to sue the theater chain for the last four years, according to an in-depth report from the Los Angeles Times. The plaintiffs argued that the theater’s relaxed security measures allowed the shooter—then-25-year-old James Holmes—to enter the theater and fire into the audience unchallenged.

After the lawsuit failed at the state level, the victims took their case to federal court. At the conclusion of the proceedings, U.S. District Judge R. Brooke Jackson informed the survivors he was planning to rule in favor of the theater—Cinemark could not have known Holmes was planning an attack, and even increased security measures would not have stopped him.

Jackson urged the plaintiffs to settle with Cinemark, and the victims were prepared to take the theater’s offer of $150,000 split among the 41 plaintiffs, according to the Times. The theater would also commit to taking additional measures to protect its patrons.

But one of the plaintiffs rejected the deal at the last minute. Two of her children had been killed in the shooting: one who was with her and one she was carrying. The gunshot wounds she sustained also left her paralyzed.

“It was done then,” Marcus Weaver, one of the survivors, told the Times. Thirty-seven plaintiffs immediately removed themselves from the case. The four who remained now owe the theater chain nearly $700,000.

“Theaters aren’t any safer,” Weaver said. “It’s almost like everything was for naught.”

If Cinemark had lost the case, theaters around the country could have been forced to beef up their security measures—a costly proposition for theaters already running a tight budget and one that would have increased ticket prices, according to the NY Daily News.

Cinemark may have won its day in court, but Colorado gun owners are still fighting to repeal the gun control measures passed in the wake of the attack. Universal background checks and a magazine ban are still in place, but the State Senate recently passed a repeal of the magazine restriction. That legislation should be considered by the House next legislative session.

{ 49 comments… add one }
  • Larry Koehn September 3, 2016, 3:37 pm

    There is a lesson to be learned here. DO NOT patronize gun free establishments and never leave home without a gun.

  • ejharb September 3, 2016, 8:30 am

    If any scumbag lawyers conned them into the suit they should pay the 700gs otherwise 4 people gotta pony up 175gs apeice.
    Let this be a example to thieves who want to play lawfare lottery. It might cost you.

  • roger mason September 3, 2016, 7:53 am

    NO ONE DIED AT CENTURY AURORA, just like no one died
    at Sandy Hoax. another staged event to take our guns away
    why can’t you people see this?

    • Christian September 4, 2016, 6:44 am

      Yes of course Roger! We are so happy that you have finally opened our eyes and told us the truth. How could we all just have fallen into that governmental trap? Of course all the blood of the children at Sandy Hook, the funerals and the graves, the families that have to live with an unbelievable grief for the rest of their lifes, as well as the guy that shot all these kids and teachers…. of course it was all a hoax by, I guess, Obama and Hillary!

      Roger please, you cannot really seriously believe what you have just written! I hate that they just point at guns, as soon as tragedies like the ones you’ve mentioned happened, but to say that it was all a hoax is really going too far.

      Here you go, two links with pictures from an independent website of all the ones that died during these two massacres, as well as many detailed infos about quite everything. I hope that this might help you to get off your strange conspiracy theories:

      http://murderpedia.org/male.H/h/holmes-james.htm

      http://murderpedia.org/male.L/l/lanza-adam.htm

      • Christian2 September 4, 2016, 2:38 pm

        Sorry Christian but not a single photo on either link you provided PROVES a single drop of blood was spilled, much less that a single child/adult died. No blood splattered classrooms, no photos of bodies being taken out, no photos of wounded being rushed to a hospital, nothing … Nice photos of cute kids; every parent and grandparent has similar photos in their wallets to show off. How do we know anyone whose photo is shown actually died? Just because some “news” media said they did? Just because you believe they did? Just because some cop and coroner who couldn’t get their story straight twice said so? Just because a parent who was caught on camera laughing one minute and tears up suddenly, says so? Without the INDEPENDENT PROOF you promised to provide we still have those who will believe it happened and those who will believe it was a hoax. Mocking them will not change their opinion anymore than they mocking you will change yours.

        • Christian September 4, 2016, 6:42 pm

          Christian2, I was not trying to mock anyone, maybe my humble English skills made me sound like that, but I am tired of these “it was all a hoax” theories of something so real like a shooting. I heard them about Columbine too and I also heard them about the Paris attacks last year, as well as about the Germanwings flight that crashed last year above France, although I do admit that I do not believe the official “suicidal pilot” story in this case. Hell, I even read crazy theories about the Titanic disaster, like that it was all just a big insurance fraud by the White Star Line.

          I know that the 2nd amendment is under heavy fire and in an unbelievable danger, especially if Hillary wins the votes, but I think we should not start to get into stories like that. I mean, what do you want to see before you finally believe that these two shootings were not a hoax? The bloody pictures of the victims? Even these ones can be faked. You can fake everything but the families that lost their loved ones on these days as well as the funerals of their children are not fake, especially not the survivors. And the problem is, what do you see as independent proof if, for example, not the stories of the survivors that were actually there? Especially Sandy Hook riveted the nation and if this would have all just been staged, I do not think that this theatre could have survived for two weeks. And I personally wonder what the actual survivors of these shootings would think about those people that say “it is all just a hoax by the government”.

          About the laughing and suddenly crying I just can guess now, that in such a horrible situation you don’t know if you shall cry or laugh. Of course I have not seen any video of what you mentioned but I have read this kind of behavior in books of parents that lost their children also in a horrible way. And about a story not being the same twice is normal to me too. When you have time to read the dozens of pages of the Columbine report, you will see that many eye witness reports of the very library survivors are contradict to each other in some details, yet Columbine was for real.

          The two links are just links of a website I know for some time, which is very detailed about murderers in general and is some kind of a huge database. Not just about the big guys. This website is independent and a good source for everyone that is interested into this topic. I know that we could argue now with hundreds of pros and cons but I am sorry, although I do never believe everything a government or the media say, to say that Sandy Hook and Aurora, as well as any other big shooting, were all just a hoax to touch the 2nd amendment once again, is way too far. They find many other reasons to get their hands on the 2nd amendment, for example their stupid talking about the gun deaths, criminality and all this stuff, so why they should stage a school or theatre shooting? I see absolutely no sense in this, no matter how much I think about it and believe me or not but I really tried now because of this discussion.

      • Evil Genius September 6, 2016, 8:25 am

        If you read the FBI’S OFFICIAL report, you’ll learn that NO ONE DIED at Sandy Hook.

        • Christian September 6, 2016, 9:47 am

          Well, if you can provide a link to the FBI’s official report, then I will be glad to read it. And please from a trusted website, not some wordpress stuff because I already have bad experiences with websites like that.

    • J.D. September 9, 2016, 6:47 pm

      Hey Roger,or whatever,,Step AWAY From the Meth Pipe Bro. It’s got worms eating your gray matter. If you honestly think the theater shooting and sandy hook are hoaxes,Dude,,You have a serious mental issue man 🙄

  • Chris Baker September 3, 2016, 12:07 am

    Let me see if I understand the situation correctly: Correct me if I’m wrong.
    1. The Theater had signs saying “No Guns Allowed”.
    2. The patrons paid for tickets and entered the theater on their own recognizance.
    3. No one forced them to disregard the sign saying “No Guns Allowed”.
    4. A person not affiliated with the theater disregarded the “No Guns Allowed” sign and committed illegal acts resulting in the deaths of innocent victims.
    5. These actions were in violation of laws prohibiting killing of people.
    6. The Theater had nothing to do with the killing other than being a venue.
    7. By following the sign and not remaining armed the patrons gave up their own rights to self defense so they could see a movie.
    8. Why would they do that? I don’t know, but it’s sure not the theater’s fault they put themselves at risk. No one went out and dragged them into the theater and made them pay for tickets.
    9. Why did they sue the theater instead of the the estate of the killer?
    10. I think it’s fair that the people who falsely sued the theater be held accountable for the costs the theater accrued in defending itself. The same should be done to anyone who sues someone unfairly.
    11. I think they were stupid to give up their self defense right to see a movie. Good grief folks. The movie isn’t worth risking your life to see.
    12. Point:

    • borg September 8, 2016, 1:06 am

      The no gun sign has no force of law in Colorado.

  • Tom Horn September 2, 2016, 9:53 pm

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe they could appeal this case to U.S. Supreme Court. If it came before the court, and Hillary has been elected, and she has appointed her new Justice/Justices, this case would have a good chance of succeeding in a lopsided Supreme Court. The liberals (Hillary supports this) also wish to make firearms manufacturers liable for damages/deaths caused by their products. Where would the insanity end? What movie theater would be able to afford the liability insurance? Could you sue restaurants, grocery stores, the place you work, if they did not provide you personal protection? How much would a firearm cost you (or U.S. tax payer for military firearms) if this occurred? Manufacturers would have no recourse, but to pass on the cost you, and many would go out of business.

    Some idiot State Rep in my state wants to put individual serial numbers on every round of ammo that enters our State. You’d be looking at hundred dollar 50 round boxes of .22LR.

    • Tom Horn September 2, 2016, 10:14 pm

      P.S. Are the folks pushing these agendas evil, power hungry fascists, seeking to usurp the power from the American People, or do they just have the I.Q.s of a lowland gorilla (sorry, didn’t mean to insult the the lower primates)? You decide.

  • Kevin Walker September 2, 2016, 4:42 pm

    I agree in principal that if you force an otherwise legally armed person to shed their arms, then you assume responsibility (and liability) for their protection. However, the key word is “Force”. No one compelled these folks to pay for and see a movie, they did so voluntarily. I’m not sure this view has ever been codified as law or a legal ruling etc. just common sense in my view, but you know how the courts work.

    Only a fool would obey a no weapons sign, unless it was backed-up by metal detectors and armed security like in a court house, airport, etc. I rather be alive than an obedient Sheeple.

    Regarding the actual event. I believe that the shooter (as I recall) purchased a ticket and entered the theater complex as any other patron would. Once in the theater, he exited out an emergency exit and left something to keep the door from locking. Went to his car and changed into his gear, armed himself and returned to the theater.

    The fact that the theater created a “Gun Free Zone” and thereby invited killers to prey on their disarmed patron was likely not brought up at trial, however it is a fact that the killer drove by many theaters that allowed concealed carry holders to be armed. Some people would state that the property owner can do as they please and that patrons did not have to go to this theater if they didn’t agree with the terms of entry stipulated by the owners.

    The victims of this crime would have been better served by protesting in front of the theater with their crippled children and pictures of their dead relatives and shaming the theater into lifting the concealed carry ban.

    • Veritas September 2, 2016, 10:07 pm

      So you would violate the law, for the law allows an owner to forbid the carrying of guns on his property? Yet you deny these people were forced to disarm themselves.

      Who ties your shoelaces?

      • JONDARMES September 2, 2016, 10:40 pm

        I have carried concealed ever since 1965, thereby violating the laws of every state between upstate New York and Southern California and am still violating the law in every state I visit that doesn’t recognize the license in my state. The first law of nature is to SURVIVE, it’s not nice to fool Mother Nature. GO TRUMP 2016!!!

  • Odie September 2, 2016, 4:37 pm

    Netflix $8 per month. Unlimited movies. Comfortable chairs. Cheap snacks and refreshments. And I’m surrounded by all of my personal defense weapons of choice.

  • Infidel7.62 September 2, 2016, 3:07 pm

    If you want to make the theater safer you have to dump the self defense prohibited (aka gun free) zone.

  • SuperG September 2, 2016, 2:41 pm

    This was a frivolous lawsuit to begin with, motivated by the sweet coos of large settlements by ambulance chasing shysters. Now they will get to experience what greed can cost, and hopefully this will serve as a lesson to others.
    The hidden message of “I deserve to be protected from others at all times and anywhere” is such a sad statement for any American to make. I’m glad that not all of have become such lethargic imbeciles who are incapable of protecting themselves. But it really insults us as Americans. We didn’t use to bend over or lay down, we fought back. I don’t know what inculcated some of us to adopt a victim mentality, but it needs to be found and stopped. We should be better than this.

  • Rob September 2, 2016, 12:11 pm

    I don’t really think that it is the responsibility of a cinema to keep you safe. What is “safe” anyway? Safe from one guy with a knife, gun, bomb? Maybe 5 guys, or an alien invasion or tornado? Can a theater afford a team of navy seals that actually might be able to keep us truly safe? Ticket prices are already nuts, I can just imagine what kind of inflation that would cause. I think this is just another example why everything is stupidly expensive. If we spill hot coffee on ourselves, we sue the restaurant. Crazy times. This makes me tired.

    • Mocatz September 2, 2016, 3:18 pm

      Well then they shouldn’t prevent people from being “safe” by putting a no-guns sign on the door. In my opinion thats when it becomes their responsibility.

  • Steve Watkins September 2, 2016, 12:11 pm

    When I heard of this lawsuit at it’s advent, I couldn’t believe that people whom lost family members were banding together to unearth the passing of their loved ones. This is an example of greed in the face of grief, and probably the prodding of a group of ambulance chasing schyster attorneys. Blaming a movie theatre for the workings of a retarded kid with bad parents, is a joke and now they have to pay for this legal misstep. Well, you play a fools game, you should expect to pay the piper so too bad for you all.

  • Chris September 2, 2016, 9:28 am

    Why not just disobey the rule that u cant take your gun into the theater. That actually makes more sense than trying to sue them because you were too much of a baby to take your gun into the theater while the shooter wasn’t because u “weren’t allowed”. Just my 2 cents. I would go into the theater with my gun whether or not there was a policy I could or could not have it. I don’t follow those policies. I never did and never will. I don’t make a big deal about it. I keep the gun on me at all times. And that’s just that. Stop living in this world doing everything somebody tells you to do that is opposite to your well-being because you think they have the power to do it. Sometimes you have to grow up and take responsibility for the choices you make. And unfortunately that does not mean that even if people were carrying a gun that it would have turned out dramatically different. Nobody knows that answer. And I’m one of the biggest fans of the right to keep and bear arms. So just to recap. Take your gun with you everywhere you go regardless of stupid policies that say you can’t have it.

    • Chinchy September 2, 2016, 1:24 pm

      I pack heat everywhere and just laugh at the sign on the door. No one seems the worse for it. No one has been killed or maimed in the last eight years of my policy. No one has ever voiced an objection to the unknown presence of my firepower. If I’m ever caught, I face a really scary trespassing charge– nothing more. Unless we have airport type security in any public venue, I’m ready for any eventuality.

  • Alan September 2, 2016, 9:22 am

    While I realize this was a tragedy, I just can’t understand why so many Americans don’t get that there is NO guarantee of safety in our Constitution.
    The very idea of real ‘Freedom’ disallows it!
    The SCOTUS has ruled that Police have NO obligation to an individual’s safety, only the Public “at large”.
    ONLY YOU can make yourself ‘safe’, and even then that’s not guaranteed.
    I’m sorry to be so ‘hard core’, but if one acts like a sheep, one becomes the target of the wolf.
    Americans have become sheep.
    And to be even more ‘hard core’, why in hell do we keep these monsters alive?!?
    Soft hearted sheep soon become the wolf’s next meal.

  • Co Boy September 2, 2016, 9:04 am

    Colorado was lost to the Californian locusts in Denver and Boulder years ago. Get out while you still can.

  • Mike September 2, 2016, 9:01 am

    I believe that was another gun free zone that went against the 2nd amendment and failed. People ended up being victims of that policy. Someone needs to pay for the restriction of innocent people following the law and being deprived of the practice of protecting themselves.

    • Chinchy September 2, 2016, 1:28 pm

      It was. So was Sprouts grocery store for about three weeks in their “security” response to this slaughter. I saw to it that their foolish policy was reconsidered and subsequentially went quietly away.

  • Greg September 2, 2016, 8:16 am

    Ah, some common sense. How refreshing. Love it when the losing side has to pay the winning sides legal bills. May stop some of the suing stupidity.

    Sorry they got hurt and a psycho killed those people…but it’s not the theaters’ fault, nor the gun makers fault, or the ammo makers. Doctor and the drug company….perhaps.

    • BR549 September 2, 2016, 8:42 am

      Actually, had those libtards actually been carrying at the time (then they wouldn’t be labeled libtards), instead of Colorado turning into a pussy state, someone would have dropped Holmes in a heartbeat and Aurora would be celebrating a hero instead of this nonsense.

      Whatever happened to Colorado that it went from a part of our western heritage to a pussified part of western NYC?

      • Paul D Garber September 2, 2016, 11:05 am

        I get it When a cause championed by Libiots wins they can sue to recover costs but God forbid someone sues & wins for being denied their 2nd Amendment rights. Best way to stop “Frivolous” lawsuits would be for all judges to only allow NON-frivolous cases to proceed. Better yet, make slime ball lawyers pay not clients Slime balls get paid no matter what Besides who decides which lawsuits are frivolous? YOU? Give me a break By the way, if Theater didn’t have gun free zone do you think A-hole shooter would have chosen it? Yes, the Theater WAS at blame but liberal judges running rampant. I thought Dodge was in Kansas OH well, get the hell out of Dodge ASAP

      • Eric September 2, 2016, 1:20 pm

        BR549 you are right. I don’t think Colorado will ever be like it was. That is where all the free loading pot smoking liberals are going. When a person is too afraid to get a job and do your fair share for this country, they move to the state that gives handouts and pampers to their pleas.
        I am glade that the theater won in this case. We just can’t let things happen and blame the one with the bigger pocket book that had nothing to do with it anymore. And our politicians are all about being pussified, they don’t want to hurt anybodies feelings. It might cost a vote. A vote that doesn’t matter anymore. Go figure.

      • Chinchy September 2, 2016, 1:29 pm

        “Maryland of the Rockies”

  • mpr September 2, 2016, 8:12 am

    I agree with this verdict. The responsible parties are the stupid voters! They voted for the liberal politicians who took away their 2nd Amendment rights. Sorry, tough love.. I am out of sympathy for foolish people who vote to put themselves in danger. Hey Colorado voters – LOOK IN THE MIRROR! Any other excuse is circular logic, which is no logic at all. NO ONE can take away my 2nd Amendment right. I carry in movie theatres, get over it.

  • JiminGA September 2, 2016, 7:16 am

    If I recall the reports correctly, Holmes entered through an emergency exit, not through the customer entrance. Seems to me an unsecure exit makes the theater liable, and surely the decision will be appealed to the full court. As other have pointed out, the “Gun Free Zone” policy also makes the theater responsible for patron safety. As an aside, we don’t go to movie theaters much but when we do I’m armed, regardless of any GFZ policy. The theaters are operated by a bunch of teenagers who are clueless.

    • BR549 September 2, 2016, 8:50 am

      Yes, but wasn’t it suggested that someone on the inside had let Holmes in intentionally, multiple shooters? The theater could have had all the required exits sealed but a “patron” (read that as a former CIA lackey or two) allowed Holmes access with his guns. Isn’t that how these scripted scenarios usually take place?

    • Mike September 2, 2016, 9:04 am

      Nailed it Jim. Thank you.

  • badbob September 2, 2016, 7:16 am

    When the theater put up signs taking away these people’s right to defend them self it took on the responsibility to protect their customers and they failed at all levels. It’s the judges that should be disbarred and the suit re-filed. Unfortunately this type of Progressive BS goes all the way to our Supreme Court. When all three branches of government ignore the Constitution it’s checks and balances become useless and if we the people don’t do our duty soon we will be doomed.

  • hey September 2, 2016, 6:20 am

    If they had any brains they should be sueing the phychactric drug manufacturer of that the shooter development a dependency on. Then bash the lobbied FDA for allowing the drug on the market!

    • Alan September 2, 2016, 9:29 am

      hey, you hit the nail on the head.
      I wish more would research just what nearly ALL these shooters had in common, for they would find a nefarious trail of psychotropic drugs being pushed off on our society by one of the most powerful lobbies in our Congress.
      Drugs being used without oversight in the U.S. when 22 other Countries have severe restrictions on their use due to WELL KNOWN side effects such as acute paranoia and extreme aggression.
      And they are walking among us!

  • Dilligaf September 1, 2016, 9:38 pm

    That is awesome! That’s how law suits should go, if you are the plaintiff and you lose, you have the pay the defense legal fee….pretty much for wasting time, efforts and money. I bet that would slow down a lot of extremely unnecessary stupid law suits in America.

    There is no reason the theater should be held accountable. There was no way they could have known some psychopath would walk in and shoot up the joint.

    • badbob September 2, 2016, 7:19 am

      You are wrong along with that woman you will be voting for for president.

      • Dilligaf September 2, 2016, 10:20 am

        Nope, hilcunt will never be president. You are wrong and have no idea what you are talking about. Don’t reply with stupid nonsense

      • Mike September 4, 2016, 1:28 pm

        I’ll shoot you

    • JoeUSooner September 2, 2016, 11:38 am

      There might not have been any way the theater could have known that a criminal WOULD attack… but they damnably-well knew that a criminal COULD do so! Such attacks had happened at other theaters (and at other “gun free zones”), so the theater management’s decision regarding guns was made with an intentional disregard of reality.

  • Greg E September 1, 2016, 8:22 pm

    I wonder why they didn’t focus more on the chains Gun Free Zone Policy. Rather than sue bc they felt the chain didn’t provide enough security, they should have argued that their GFZ Policy disallowed the patrons to protect themselves, thereby allowing the shooter to inflict more harm.

    We had a perfect opportunity to argue the fallacy of presumed safety and argue that by making their business a GFZ, they are assuming responsibility of their patrons.

    • Anthony N September 2, 2016, 6:06 am

      I couldn’t agree with you more. If they are not allowing costumers the ability to secure their own means for safety, they should be responsible for providing it.

    • Blasted Cap September 2, 2016, 7:04 am

      When I’m there it’s not a gun free zone. The worst they can do by state law is ask me to leave. They haven’t seen it yet, so I’ll continue to conceal and watch.

      • BUH September 2, 2016, 5:35 pm

        Good for you….I’m the same way.
        but I was told ( in ccw class) that places that put the no gun signs up are liable for your safety in and out of the business. don’t see how theater isnt paying for that stupid ass sign.
        I finally realized obeying these signs, only put me and others at risk. Now I ignore them too. and no longer follow these idiotic rules. I also don’t unload and hide it when I cross into illinois anymore, like I used to. when I see that no gun sign, I go in and tell them they are liable with that sign, and then I tell them I will never shop there as long as they have that sign up and I leave

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