Jury: Cinemark not liable in theater shooting

Posted at 1:33 PM, May 19, 2016

A jury has determined that Cinemark is not liable for the Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting.

The jury deliberated for about three hours before announcing that it was siding with the theater chain.

Twenty-eight victims and their families sued the theater company in state court. Their lawsuit said Cinemark should have had silent alarms and armed guards at the packed midnight premiere of a Batman film, where James Holmes launched his attack.

Holmes was sentenced last year to spend the rest of his life in prison for killing 12 people and wounding 70 others in the movie theater on July 20, 2012.

Theater chain's defense

During closing arguments, Cinemark's attorney Kevin Taylor, told jurors, "This case is about what James Holmes did."

Taylor said he understood why the plaintiffs went after Cinemark.

“They want money,” he said, adding, that the theater’s record was virtually spotless.

Taylor pointed at pictures of bombs and damage on a screen and asked, “How could the theater have foreseen this? Never in the history of this media, had anyone committed mass murder.”

He said people have propped open doors before, but there was not one incident.

“Holmes was fully committed.  There was no stopping him,” Taylor said.

The defense attorney called the theater shooting a horrible tragedy, “but let’s not compound the problem” trying to hold someone else accountable.

Plaintiff's argument

In closing arguments, the attorney for the families, Marc Bern, said the theater chain was not prepared for what happened.  He said they failed to install closed circuit TV, didn’t have armed security that night nor did they have perimeter patrols.

“If the theater hadn’t failed,” Bern said, “none of us would be here.  This tragedy would have been prevented.”

Bern told jurors that Cinemark’s attorneys spent more than $600,000 for expert witnesses.

He noted that for $800 a silent alarm could have been installed on the back door of the theater.