A Cinemark Holdings Inc. unit was accused in another lawsuit of failing to take security precautions before the July 20 theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado, that left 12 people dead.
The theater posed an “unreasonably dangerous risk” to customers because Cinemark USA Inc. failed to ensure the safety of its property, according to the complaint filed yesterday in state court in Centennial, Colorado. At least six similar suits are pending in federal court in Denver. The latest complaint mirrors an earlier one with its claims that Cinemark had information about previous disturbances at the theater, including shootings, robberies and assaults.
“Nobody in that theater tried to do anything to mitigate those injuries,” Marc Jay Bern, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said today in a phone interview.
James Holmes is accused of opening fire on the audience at a midnight screening of “The Dark Knight Rises.” Holmes, who studied neuroscience at the University of Colorado-Denver, is charged in state court in Centennial with 24 counts of first-degree murder and more than 100 counts of attempted murder. First-degree murder can carry the death penalty in Colorado.
State court will provide “swifter justice” because civil cases in federal courts are often relegated behind criminal cases, and plaintiffs could win a larger award in state court, the attorney said. Bern declined to say how much damages might total, saying only that both punitive and compensatory damages will amount to millions of dollars.
James Meredith, a spokesman for Plano, Texas-based Cinemark, declined to comment.
The Colorado case is Soudani v. Century Theaters Inc., 201-CV-1926, Arapahoe County District Court, Colorado (Centennial).
The federal cases include Nowlan v. Cinemark USA Inc., 12-cv-02517, and Traynom v. Cinemark USA Inc. 12-cv-02514, U.S. District Court, District of Colorado (Denver). The criminal case is People v. Holmes, 12-cr-01522, 18th Judicial District Court, Colorado (Centennial).