Cinemark, the parent company of the Aurora, Colorado theater where a gunman opened fire on an audience at a screening of The Dark Knight Rises back in July, has been sued by three of the shooting victims.
Two separate lawsuits were filed yesterday, one by Denise Traynom and Brandon Axelrod and another by Joshua Nowlan. Both are asking for jury trials and damages in excess of $75,000--and both suits essentially blame a failure of theater security for the scope of the shooting.
“The gunman made one or more trips from his car through the open exterior door of Auditorium 9, bringing his arsenal and ammunition through that open door. Throughout that time, no employee or security personnel contacted him, deterred him, monitored him or stopped him from that re-entry,” the suit filed yesterday by Traynom and Axelrod says.
Deadline reports that one of the suits (it doesn't specify which) claims, “There was no alarm activated during the many minutes while the gunman was stockpiling his arsenal, and inside the theater shooting people....There was no action taken by theater employees to safely evacuate the many people left in Auditorium 9.”
The Internet has, not surprisingly, been swift and decisive in their condemnation of the lawsuit, with commenters on the Deadline story blasting the victims and their attorneys as opportunists and noting that there was no reasonable expectation on the part of the theater that anything like this could have happened.
While it's true that no theater would be equipped in advance to deal with a situation like the one in Aurora, there's probably a logic at play here that if anyone had tried to stop him during this process, and he had shot them or started a scuffle in an attempt to move his plan forward, it would have created a panic that may have evacuated the theater before the gunman had an opportunity to fully equip himself. An alarm would have called attention to the developing situation. These facts may sway a jury more than they would a group of commentators invested in the outcome.