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Aurora theater shooting: Torrence Brown Jr. first to sue over attack

torrence brown.jpg
Torrence Brown Jr.
Only days after the Aurora theater shootings, and mere hours after the initial court appearance by accused gunman James Holmes, TMZ reports that the first lawsuit over the assault has been filed.

The plaintiff: Torrence Brown Jr., who was not physically injured in the melee but was friends with victim A.J. Boik. The attorney: Donald Karpel, a Beverly Hills lawyer who doesn't shy away from the limelight.

Karpel appears to have a direct line to TMZ. For instance, the site noted his representation of paparazzo Jordan Dawes, who was attacked by actor Sean Penn in 2009. Dawes donated the settlement he received from Penn to Haitian charities, and Karpel is said to have done likewise with a "large chunk of his attorney's fees."

donald karpel.jpg
Donald Karpel.
Among other high-profile Karpel cases featured on Karpel's Facebook page -- a complaint against a Mailbu teacher who allegedly struck a student in imitation of the slapping scene in Bridesmaids, and a suit by the lead singer of the group Hollywood Undead, who says he was beaten up by his bandmates. Both cases were prominently covered by (you guessed it) TMZ, with Karpel described in the latter item as a "legal pitbull."

The site's most recent Karpel offering describes three targets in the Brown suit over the shootings:

1. The theater. Karpel claims it was negligent for the theater to have an emergency door in the front that was not alarmed or guarded. It's widely believed Holmes entered the theater with a ticket, propped the emergency door open from inside, went to his car and returned with guns.

2. Holmes' doctors. Karpel says it appears Holmes was on several medications -- prescribed by one or more doctors -- at the time of the shooting and he believes the docs did not properly monitor Holmes.

3. Warner Bros. Karpel says Dark Knight Rises was particularly violent and Holmes mimicked some of the action. The attorney says theater goers were helpless because they thought the shooter was part of the movie.

In reference to the latter, Karpel tells TMZ, "Somebody has to be responsible for the rampant violence that is shown today."

Of course, Holmes presumably had not seen The Dark Knight Rises before his assault, given that its premiere had only been underway for a matter of minutes when he began firing. But that may not matter in a suit like this one, which seems designed more for a settlement from entities that might rather pay to make matters like this go away than litigate them for years. Then again, there are so many victims in the Aurora case, and so many others who were traumatized in the theater but escaped physical wounds, that ponying up in one case could set an expensive precedent.

We've reached out to Karpel. If and when he gets back to us, we'll update this post.

More from our Follow That Story archive: "James Holmes: Inside the courtroom with shock-haired Aurora theater shooting suspect."

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106 comments
Paul Vincent Saurini
Paul Vincent Saurini

it's a sad reality. This sort of American Culture/Violence will repeat. No, I don't want to 'need' security in a theatre, but we it seems impossible to go on without it. It is a mathematical fact that it will happen again. Nonetheless, there's no way to make sense of events like this. There is no way to perfect society to protect against a few lone whackos. AS FOR THE MEDIA: This is Christmas. They get a super whopping kick out of these things and the CEOs are dancing.

Steven M Palmer
Steven M Palmer

I feel traumatized by this idiot trying to sue Batman. Maybe I should sue him...

Honey Badger
Honey Badger

I can't say I am suprised...there's always somebody out there that wants to profit from a tragedy. I hope he gets $1.00 for each entity he is filing against. ..oh and WB should kick in a DVD so he can watch it from the safety of his home. When you go to a public place, doesn't it ring true that you are taking a risk that while in that public place, "Something" could happen? Will we all have to sign disclaimers saying "Attend at your own risk" every time we go to a public place or event? RIDICULOUS.

Stephen At Half Aspen
Stephen At Half Aspen

Typical of those who expect a handout. Him and his lawyer should be run out of town.

Billy BlackFeather Drexx
Billy BlackFeather Drexx

This guy doesnt have a clue or a case. It will most likely be thrown out & he will have accomplished nothing except tarnishing the memory of his dead friend for $$$ & notoriety.

Tyler Mockli
Tyler Mockli

Give this clown some Foodstamps and tell him to get the F on!!!!!

Jason Thomas
Jason Thomas

I think the bigger question is what does he and Holmes say about our society? What type of society produces these sick f***s? It's not like he or Holmes are pioneers in what they've done. While I can't site a prior case for Torrence Brown (though I'm sure they exists), I can site several similar events to what Holmes has done. 1984 San Ysidro McDonald's massacre, David Koresh in Waco, Texas, Columbine HS shooting, Virginia Tech HS shooting, Thurston HS shooting in Springfiled, Oregon, and those are what just come off the top of my head. The politicians and news media will cover the stories surrounding the shooting ad infinitum (as WestWord has so brilliantly demonstrated), but where are the solutions going to come from? What are the solutions going to be? And who is going to implement them? Because I'll tell you what, if those three questions aren't answered, the Aurora Theater Shooting will happen again in some other part of the US a few years (if we're lucky). And we'll do this whole song and pony dance all over again. It's sad and sick. I think there's a spiritual (not religious, spiritual) disease within our society that's not being addressed.

Tony Diaz
Tony Diaz

He's a check chaser that has no ground.

Kim Daub
Kim Daub

I was wondering how long it would take for someone to come up with a reason to sue. Life is about choices. I choose to cross streets, drive my car, fly in planes, etc. any number of things I engage in during the day can get me killed. We shouldn't have to worry about going to a movie, attending class, going to a mall or getting on a plane --- that some nut job is going to open fire. But that's the world we live in. This is nothing but greed and this guy is no better than the shooter. He's choosing to make his mark by being an uncaring, selfish jerk. Some friend to defame the memory of someone considered a friend. I hope this case never makes it past the filing stage. The party responsible is never going to pay a dime to the victims. Trying to get money from those not responsible puts you in the same class as the ahooter - scum. This just infuriates me. .

Ryan Dearth
Ryan Dearth

Good group of people commenting over at the Westword site. I'm impressed there is no photo of Holmes plastered all over this story

Karyn Muise-Pankow
Karyn Muise-Pankow

The theater should have had an alarm on the Emergency Exit... Alarm should go off is door is open or ajar..... but seriously this guy wasn't even physically hurt.... if he wins both he & his attorney should donate ALL money to the real victims..... you know the ones who actually got shot & have medical bills....

Denisse Lomas
Denisse Lomas

This guy is just greedy if he was to get something he would just pocket the money not donate it he wanted to see batman it's not he knew what it was about idiot!!!!

Tarayn Marissa
Tarayn Marissa

And @ Kimberly... They have alarms on them. For FIRES or if they emergency alarm is pulled. There is no law stating that specific doors have to have alarms on them. Maybe in the future they can computerize them only to go off during a movie, so people can exit them without them going off at the end of the movie? Idk. And @ Paul... Seriously? Should we all walk through metal detectors on our way to get morning coffee now too?

Tarayn Marissa
Tarayn Marissa

What a dick. I know he wasn't even injured. His friend died. And yeah that sucks. Unfortunately, people in your lifetime are going to die. There is NOTHING the theater did wrong or could have done. Hey, Torrance, did you miss the birth of your son? Lose an eye? Lose your 6 year old? Lose your fingers? Hum... Cause a lot of these other people did and they're not being little bitches about it. Grow a pair and grow up. Even if there had been security, nothing they could have done would've stopped the guy from doing what he did. He planned and was determined. It's not like he walked through the front door with all those guns. You are a selfish and greedy man!!!

Christy Young
Christy Young

It wasn't an emergency exit door, there wasn't an alarm to go off. It was a door to the outside of the building allowing people to leave so they didn't have to walk to the front of the building to get back out.

Shawn Allbritten
Shawn Allbritten

This "man" makes me sick. Who the hell does he think he is, suing the theater. Somebody should send his ass back to school until he can act like a grown-up. Shameful.

Christy Burr-Ariniello
Christy Burr-Ariniello

How in the hell is it even possible to bash in a sense or talk crap about how violent the movie is??? A, they clearly are a fan also, he chose to go see it and at a midnight screening. If I am not a fan I sure as heck am not going to see it at midnight. And the violence....there is violence in a lot of movies that many ppl see and lots of ppl don't whack out. If I am not mistaken this was a premiere right? Meaning how would anyone really know everything that was going to happen in the movie...if it had not come out yet to be seen?? To sue Warner Bros. Is a joke and completely ridiculous! And you can't tell me that if this guy was rigging some of the most advanced traps and bombs that he wouldn't know how to bypass an exit door alarm, or rig it somehow? He's a complete piece of shit, but apparently knew how to do crap like that. And in another story I read this this persons parents were doing this on their sons behalf.....because he has extreme trauma. Ok well of that is the case get him HELP....and if he is so traumatized being his parents you should know all of that is going to get worse or have to be brought back up if you sue someone. That will add more trauma! Some ppl will do anything where they see $$.

Paul Vincent Saurini
Paul Vincent Saurini

I have sat in movie theaters for over 10 YEARS and realized how people are sitting ducks in there. Had anyone in any position of responsibility at the theatre realized the obvious reality, then maybe this never would have happened. They've been obsessed with filming people in the dark for fear of copying or filming movies OMG!!!!! BUT WHAT ABOUT THE COMPLETE AND TOTAL LACK OF SECURITY??? I'm not surprised that this happened. I'm more surprised at how it takes THIS kind of thing to make theaters realize that there is no security. I'm more surprised that it didn't happen sooner, and given the total lack of security, they'll either change things up big time or IT WILL HAPPEN AGAIN. Hey, THIS IS KIND OF VIOLENT NONSENSE EPITOMIZES THE ESSENCE OF AMERICAN CULTURE!!!! BE PROUD! Are not these kinds of incidences AMERICAN CULTURE? It happens enough, so I don't see why not!

Gwendolyn Albert
Gwendolyn Albert

It's depressing to see energy going to sue people who are not responsible. These people should put their energy into reinstating the ban on assault weapons.

Joe Beauprez
Joe Beauprez

I think most of it is crap but if Holmes was able to prop open an emergency exit without an alarm going off and use that to access his car / guns and then attack through that door, I think he has a case against the theater. But suing WB is absurd.

Kimberly McDevitt
Kimberly McDevitt

the movie theater failed to provide emergency exits that performed their function and sounded an alarm. we don't know, but that could have saved a lot of lives.

Doug Hubka
Doug Hubka

So , who is going to sure anyway. No one is to blame or is at fault ecept the gunman. I am sure his lawyers will think of someone to sue.

Si James
Si James

Disgraceful. I fail to see how it is anything other than trying to capitalize financially on a terrible tragedy.

Jeff Young
Jeff Young

I don't see how he can win this. It is no ones fault but the gunman's for this tragedy.

Bradley Langston
Bradley Langston

He's just hoping they will throw some money at him to make him go away.

Paul Vincent Saurini
Paul Vincent Saurini

creepy with bad timing. Gee, ya think it's about money? yeah, he needs JUSTICE.... sure.

Jessica R Criswell
Jessica R Criswell

i dont see why he would sue its not the movie theaters fault that psycho planned this he should be suing him but theres no money in doing that just disgusting

Richard Scott Taylor
Richard Scott Taylor

There had to be a 'first'. People grieve in different ways. Maybe his is to get the process started as soon as possible.

Rita Marie Archunde
Rita Marie Archunde

This is absolutely disgraceful.....and this my friends is whats wrong with this country! Sue happy individuals and their lawyers who will fight for it......sad thing is, they will probably win...:(

Aaron Wells
Aaron Wells

Enjoy that money asshole I hope you choke on it

Shannon Fender
Shannon Fender

TMZ is somehow involved... I knew they were nothing but damn trouble out here.

Marcelino Casias
Marcelino Casias

Idiot. Can the victims' families sue him and his attorney for being alive?

Moira Spence-Heiser
Moira Spence-Heiser

A person I knew there called a therapist first thing Monday morning....not a lawyer... do the RIGHT thing man.

Christy Young
Christy Young

I think he's a fucking idiot. he chose to see batman and now he's suing WB because it was a "violent movie"? Please.

Juan_Leg
Juan_Leg

I'm going to sue Chambers for 'Blue Balls'.

They keep showing her mug during each nightly news broadcast

and you try keeping a 'woody' w/ her image plastered on the television screen !

annj
annj

No wonder this country is in so much turmoil.  White people are so busy hating Black people that they lose sight of whats really happened.  12 people are dead shouldn't they be more important than any lawsuit?  Does it make you feel like a big man to call someone a nigger??? coon???   Sad.....

inalifetim
inalifetim

This is truely discusting! There is someone responsible!!!!! James Holmes! I think that anyone can see both of these men for what they truely are, money hungry. He should be praying to God, thanking him for his life.

 

my2cents
my2cents

Truly sad that a person who has experienced such can not be thankful enough for what 12 other victims and their families will never have.   And this attorney, bet he had his running shoes on when he was chasing the ambulances...bastard.

LOveUSa
LOveUSa

Wow, I wish I lived in the US becasue then I could sue anyone over anything, and win. This guy wasn`t even hit and he wants to sue the theater and the film company? AND he actually found a laywer who agreed to represent him??  I love america so much, you americans are all frikkin crazy but I want to move there.

Juan_Leg
Juan_Leg

Now we get to hear again, about what a hero David Lane is, 

and how we should all bow to his greatness....

tmsvalberg14
tmsvalberg14

 @juan_leg What are you talking about? This guy didn't get hit at all. That's the point of why him suing is so pathetic. And.... Aurora is an extremely diverse community. One of the deceased victim's girlfriend was black. This adorable interracial couple was there and she was white and with her black boyfriend and a ton of his family. We don't discriminate in Colorado. (Or at least we try hard as hell not too!) Our state is so culturally beautiful and diverse. 

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