James Holmes case: Inside three victims' lawsuits against Aurora theater


Traynom and Axelrod are said to have been seated in auditorium nine of the Century 16 in the upper level area. As the attack began, with Holmes allegedly throwing tear-gas canisters into the theater and then opening fire, they ducked down behind seats as others tried to escape -- but they didn't evade injury. Traynom was "shot in the gluteus maximus," while Axelrod "suffered significant orthopedic injuries to his right knee and ankle" in addition to the "emotional and psychological distress and trauma" both of them endured.

No wonder, because, the suit continues, "Plaintiffs lay helpless on the ground for many minutes, while the gunman continued shooting people" until "his weapon jammed."

joshua nowlan.jpg
Joshua Nowlan.
And Nowlan? He, too, was seated in the upper level of auditorium nine, and he also ducked behind seats as others around him fled. But he wound up being shot in his arm so seriously that the limb was almost severed, the lawsuit says. In addition, he was shot in his left leg, forcing himi to remain laying on the theater floor with gunfire ringing out. Meanwhile, "the movie continued to play, and the houselights remained very low or off." No alarm was activated and "there was no action taken by theater employees to safely evacuate the many people left in Auditorium 9," the suit states.

In the end, Nowlan was assisted by members of the Aurora Police Department, who removed him from the theater. The suit adds: "Because there were no ambulances available, those police officers put Mr. Nowlan in an Aurora patrol car and drove him to the hospital themselves." Since then, the complaint goes on, he "has undergone significant medical treatment for his many injuries, including several surgeries, skin-grafting procedures, muscle replacement and the like. He will continue to require significant medical assistance for his injuries and has been unable to return to work through the date of filing of this complaint."

The claims for relief in the lawsuits center on premises liability and negligence. The defendant is asked to pay a judgment that "will fully and fairly compensate" for "damages, losses and injuries, both past and future."

Here are the two lawsuits.

Denise Traynom and Brandon Axelrod v. Cinemark USA
Joshua Nowlan v. Cinemark USA

More from our Aurora Theater Shooting archive: "Aurora theater shooting: Torrence Brown Jr. first to sue over attack."


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9 comments
Kristen Kearns
Kristen Kearns

In what way was the theater negligent?? Such a BS case. I'm sorry you are greiving people, but get over yourselves.

joel_wilson50
joel_wilson50

Oh for God's sake what a ridiculous lawsuit. Way to turn a tragedy into a cash cow and milk it for all it's worth. Kaching kaching!

Cindy Hill
Cindy Hill

The court's likely going to toss anything against the theater, as there is no way for them to have predicted or protected their customers from this attack. This 'blame everyone' attitude that people have is pretty insidious.

Dennis Scott
Dennis Scott

Armed guards at the door of every restaurant? TSA agents at the entrance to King Soopers? Who is to blame?

Angela Reali
Angela Reali

They are angry, traumatized and want to put the blame somewhere.

Stephen At Half Aspen
Stephen At Half Aspen

What do I think? I think it exemplifies the low level at which our society rests. A disgusting portrayal of greed and misplaced blame.

Shawna Pierson
Shawna Pierson

I think it is tragic, what happened, but I do not think the theater was negligent. I do not believe that every business can possibly secure every public place or event.

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