Is Cinemark Negligent in Batman Shootings?

colorado theater shooting

Monday, July 30: Earlier today, a Colorado court charged James E. Holmes, the 24-year-old gunman who killed 12 moviegoers and left dozens wounded when he opened fire in an Aurora, CO., movie theater during “The Dark Knight Rises,” with 142 criminal counts, including 24 of first-degree murder. Yet questions remain about the liability of Cinemark, the corporation that owns and operates the complex in which the Batman premiere was debuting.  Why, for example, weren’t armed guards and/or off-duty police present at the busy showing?

As the Huffington Post reports, the Colorado movie theater “didn’t have any uniformed security guards on duty the night of the shooting, even though other theaters operated by the same company did.”

Perey Law Group PLLC has vast and successful experience in cases involving inadequate security provided by large national corporations. In fact, one of our cases, Tolenoa v. Denny’s, resulted in the largest verdict of its kind: $46.4 million.

Case Similarities

The similarities between Tolenoa v. Denny’s and the Colorado shootings are starting to emerge: Denny’s, Inc. made a corporate decision not to provide security guards or off-duty police during one of its busiest and most dangerous periods. As a result, a 27-year-old man was one of five customers injured by a gunman. Tolenoa will never walk again.

Cinemark committed the same mistake: Instead of providing uniformed guards at an event that the corporation could have foreseeably reasoned would draw large crowds, it opted not to protect the public.

Is Cinemark Negligent?

Cinemark does provide off-duty police guards at the Aurora Century 16 on busy Friday and Saturday nights. But the company didn’t hire any guards for the premiere of “The Dark Knight Rises” on Fri., July 20, the night of the shootings. Cinemark’s spokespersons have declined to comment as to why no security guards were employed for the sold-out midnight screening.

“If you bring in security on Friday or Saturday, you sure as hell want to bring it in for this particular function,” Larry Lowak the father of one victim, Brent Lowak, said.

Other movie theater companies in the industry take security precautions by regularly using off-duty police and increasing that force during busy events or movie premieres. AMC Theatres, for example, has barred people from wearing masks or bringing toy weapons inside its buildings.

Additional Questions

Other questions also need to be answered: Did Cinemark have adequate physical building security measures in place, such as an alarm on the emergency exit door?

Civil Lawsuit

At least one civil lawsuit has been filed against Cinemark. It is likely other civil lawsuits seeking financial compensation for the victims to pay for medical bills and compensate for pain, suffering and wrongful death will be filed as more information becomes known.

In Memoriam

At Perey Law, as we learn the facts about the shooting and search for answers, we remember the victims:

  1. Veronica Mosher-Sullivan, 6, whose mother, Ashley Moser, was injured in the attack.
  2. Gordon Cowden, 51.
  3. Matthew McQuinn, whose girlfriend, Samantha Yowler was injured in the attack.
  4. Alex Sullivan, 27.
  5. Micayla Medek, 23.
  6. John Larimer, United States Navy cryptologist.
  7. Jesse Childress, 29, United States Airforce, cyber-systems operator.
  8. Alexander J. Boik
  9. Jonathan Blunk, 26.
  10. Rebecca Ann Wingo, 32.
  11. Alexander C. Teves, 24.
  12. Jessica Ghawi, also known as Jessica Redfield.

Stories of the victims who were wounded and the pain and suffering they have endured continue to come to light. Some of these include:

  • Cristiana Blache, a 29 year-old woman who described her fast action to stop the bleeding from a gunshot wound to her leg.
  • David Sanchez, father of Katie Medley, who was watching the movie with her husband Caleb Medley when he was critically injured. Sanchez is requesting that prosecutors seek the death penalty for Holmes. An online donation website has been set up for Caleb, who did not have medical insurance.