Cinemark Holdings Inc. (CNK) won dismissal of some claims in lawsuits filed on behalf of victims of the shooting rampage in July at “The Dark Knight Rises” premiere in Aurora, Colorado, that left 12 people dead.
U.S. District Judge R. Brooke Jackson in Denver today agreed to dismiss the negligence claims brought in 10 separate lawsuits against the movie-theater operator. The judge said the plaintiffs could proceed with their claims under the Colorado Premises Liability Act and their wrongful death claims.
“It is a close call,” Jackson said in reference to whether the plaintiffs made a plausible claim, under the premises liability law, that Cinemark failed to protect movie goers against a danger the company knew or should have known. “I agree, of course, that the issues of liability and damages are for the jury.”
James Meredith, a spokesman for Plano, Texas-based Cinemark, didn’t immediately return a call after regular business hours seeking comment on the ruling.
James Holmes faces murder charges for the July 20 attack and Colorado prosecutors have said they intend to seek the death penalty. A judge has entered a not guilty plea for Holmes.
The consolidated federal cases include Nowlan v. Cinemark USA Inc., 12-cv-02517, and Traynom v. Cinemark USA, 12-cv-02514, U.S. District Court, District of Colorado (Denver).
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