Four survivors of the Aurora, Colorado, shooting were ordered to pay Cinemark $700,000 in legal fees after their class-action lawsuit was dismissed by a federal judge.
As reported by NY Daily News, the survivors believe the theater is partially responsible for the massacre. As stated in the lawsuit, Cinemark’s security team failed to prevent James Holmes from leaving the theater through an emergency exit and returning with a cache of deadly weapons.
— PrMediaLink (@PrMediaLink) August 25, 2016
However, U.S. District Judge R. Brooke Jackson disagreed. This week, a federal judge formally dismissed the class-action lawsuit and ordered four survivors of the Aurora, Colorado, shooting to pay Cinemark $700,000 to cover the cost of their defense.
On July 19, 2012, an estimated 400 people, including 24-year-old James Eagan Holmes, entered the Aurora’s Century 16 multiplex theater for the midnight premiere of the highly-anticipated Batman sequel “The Dark Knight Rises.”
Approximately 20 minutes into the film, Holmes left the Cinemark theater through an emergency exit, propping the door open behind him. He then changed into riot gear, retrieved a cache of deadly weapons, and re-entered the theater.
Because members of the audience dressed up for the premiere, Holmes’ riot gear was initially mistaken for an elaborate costume. When he activated two gas canisters, some audience members thought it was part of the special effects.
— x. (@nvrralone) June 23, 2016
Unfortunately, it was soon clear that James Holmes meant to harm as many people as possible. In addition to deploying the poisonous gas, he began opening fire. As reported by ABC 7, nearly 70 people were injured and 12 others were killed in the Aurora, Colorado, shooting.
Less than an hour after the movie began, Holmes was identified as the sole suspect in the Cinemark theater massacre and was taken into custody without further incident. Authorities confirmed he had numerous weapons in his possession, including a.223 caliber Smith & Wesson assault rifle, a Remington 12 gauge shotgun, and a.40 Glock handgun.
According to reports, James Holmes openly confessed to planning and carrying out the Aurora, Colorado, shooting.
Holmes was subsequently charged with numerous criminal counts, including first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder. On July 16, 2015, he was convicted of one count of possessing illegal explosives, 140 counts of attempted murder, and 24 counts of first-degree murder.
Although he was facing the death penalty, jurors were unable to reach a unanimous decision. As a result, the convicted killer was sentenced to 12 life sentences without the possibility of parole.
Forty-one survivors of the Aurora, Colorado, shooting eventually joined to file a class-action lawsuit against Cinemark. However, as the case progressed, it was clear that proving the theater was responsible for the massacre would be nearly impossible. Although 37 of the plaintiffs ultimately walked away from the case, four of the survivors refused to back down.
Los Angeles Times reports the Judge eventually ruled against the plaintiffs and dismissed the lawsuit against Cinemark. However, the company already spent more than $700,000 on their defense. Therefore, they asked the judge to order the four remaining plaintiffs to cover their legal fees.
According to reports, the federal judge did, in fact, order the four remaining plaintiffs to pay Cinemark’s legal fees. The Aurora, Colorado, shooting survivors are now collectively responsible for more than $700,000.
Although he was initially housed in the Colorado State Penitentiary in Canon City, James Holmes was transferred to another facility after he was physically assaulted by another inmate. As reported by ABC News, officials have confirmed he was moved out of Colorado. However, they have not disclosed the inmate’s current location.
The Aurora, Colorado, shooting victims said they are disappointed with the judge’s decision in their class-action lawsuit. However, they hope the case encouraged Cinemark and other movie theater owners to increase security measures to prevent a similar tragedy in the future.