Aurora theater shooting: New lawsuit charges Century 16 owner Cinemark with negligence


yousef gharbi.jpg
Yousef Gharbi.
To back up this contention, the suit maintains that prior to July 20, "Defendants were on notice that the subject premises posed an unreasonably dangerous risk to paying customers because it had previously been the site of shootings, robberies and assaults," including a gang shooting reported by the New York Times in August.

At times, the theater had hired security personnel to work on Friday and Saturday nights, the suit continues -- but that wasn't the case on July 20. (Security had been on hand earlier on July 19 during a transfer of cash, but had split afterward.) Moreover, the suit notes that the emergency exit door to Auditorium 9, where the attack was centered, lacked an alarm that might have sounded after the assailant, presumed to be James Holmes, blocked it open in order to arm himself and don protective gear. Likewise, no alarm went off after he opened fire, and "no action [was] taken by theater employees to safely evacuate the many people left in Auditorium 9.

As such, the suit says, "the Assailant continued shooting throughout the Auditorium until eventually his weapon jammed and the shooting stopped. He then walked back out of the theater through the same door he used to enter and sat in his car."

Given these events, the suit states that the Defendants "actually knew or should have known" about dangers to patrons -- a duty that was "breached...when it failed to engage in reasonable efforts to inspect the premises and to make the subject premises safe."

The alleged failures are enumerated like so:

a. failed to inspect and/or adequately inspect and ensure that the subject premises was adequately guarded, secure and safe from unauthorized use of the premises as described herein;

b. failed to ensure that alarms would sound when the emergency exits on the subject premises were opened and/or activated;

c. failed to take steps to make sure emergency exit doors could not be propped open and used as an egress and ingress into the theater;

d. failed to employ sufficient staff to monitor all ingresses and egresses;

e. failed to establish policies to monitor all ingresses and egresses and/or enforce such policies and to adequately train their staff to appropriately monitor all ingresses and egresses;

f. failed to provide appropriate security on and within the premises as well as generally failed to adequately secure the premises;

g. failed to use reasonable care under the circumstances to discover the foreseeable dangerous conditions of said premises and to correct same or to warn invitees and/or customers of their existence, as well as other potential risks known to Defendants and of which Defendants were on notice of, when attending movie showings at their theater;

h. failed to properly train employees or provide reasonable surveillance procedures including, but not limited to, surveillance devices, monitors, cameras and human surveillance or monitoring of suspicious activity;

i. failed to develop, establish and institute adequate emergency or first-aid response and evacuation plans and procedures for patrons in the theater in the event circumstances called for such procedures; and

j. failed to properly train employees in emergency, crisis and first-aid response and evacuation procedures.

Continue to read more about the suit, as well as to see a video of the news conference and the complete documents.
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17 comments
aliceallenmiller
aliceallenmiller

It was not the theaters fault! He is only do this for the money. Do there really need to be guards everywhere? Let's not stop crazy people from buying guns, lets just blame the establishments that crazies shoot up instead. 

zani1
zani1

We had guards around earlier in the day when we transferred out the cash from the boxoffice. This doesn't mean we should have had them around for this kind of event. This was just a midnight show, and was going to be confusing anyways with people showing up in costume. And, c'mon, do you really expect us to watch all the doors to keep people from getting in without a ticket?? Get real! People get in that way ALL THE TIME!!!

 

So what if he had time to prop open the exit door without being seen? So what if he had time to move his car closer to the door and unload all his stuff? And this whole idea of him having enough time to pull out a full suit of body armor and put it on in the parking lot with a gas mask. Why would you expect US to be watching that?? Heck, he could have been putting on a Batman costume for all we knew.

 

People are yapping about us not being trained for emergencies. Why is that OUR problem? They say we kept the movie running during the shooting. Well, that's what we DO. We're a movie theater! You can't tell us that whenever somebody makes a loud noise, we have to stop the movie and turn on all the lights. Get real, people!

 

The fact of life is that if we had to worry about your safety we would go broke. The only way we make money is selling you stuff at the concession stand. And there, we are very safety-conscious. We're clean. We don't use dirty cups. If you spill your drink and ice goes everywhere, we make sure nobody slips on it, and we clean it up.

 

But if there's a huge fire, or a shooting rampage, a tornado, guess what you're on your own. Just like everywhere else, including your rock concerts and football games. People say we should have had some kind of safety procedure. Well the only procedure that works for me is that I'm outta here. Good luck! Don't sue me because I got out ahead of you. Don't point fingers at everybody but yourself! This stuff happens. Live with it. Move on.

 

Peace out.

Charlotte Grulke
Charlotte Grulke

No, i worked at theaters for years, even ran the century in belmar, its a fire hazard to lock those doors and in 7 years ive only every seen fights, inappropriate sexual acts, and vandalism. its insane to think the theater was somehow responsible even if there was not a off duty officer working at the time. the most he/she could have done was take him out then and there, would not have been able to prevent the disaster.

irritated1
irritated1

If your going to require law abiding citizens to disarm themeselves in a rather public setting then you assume the reponsibilty of protecting them. The "No Guns Allowed" sign posted says it all as well as proves a point of how well criminals follow laws, policies and regualtions. Cinemark should be sued.

Steven DeZort
Steven DeZort

Fuck no. What's next? Patdowns and metal detectors at movie theaters? Then how am I supposed to sneak my booze into the theater. Might as well start xray scanning the customers at mcdonalds.

Boronado Montoya Puñez
Boronado Montoya Puñez

Yes, then sue the makers of batman, then sue the maker of his car if he drove there.

Monkey
Monkey

Fucking disgusting!!!

 "posed an unreasonably dangerous risk to paying customers such as Plaintiffs because Defendants had failed to ensure that the subject premises were safe and secure for its paying customers and were free of the violent crime and the risk of violent crime."

I guess the message here is if someone ever gets shot at your location, you need to arm the building and any employees, or a fancy lawyer will convince people to sue you. Good thing they didn't re-build the Trade Towers, with this guy around, they would have needed to build it out of material that aircraft can't breach. How about the hospital where victims were treated, do we blame them for not saving them all? Do we blame the ambulance drivers for not getting to them quickly enough? Do we blame the victims who brought children to a theatre with recorded violence in the past for child abuse? I can blame things and people all day, and so can this lawyer, but he makes a living from it.

Chriss Hoffman
Chriss Hoffman

No, should they have alarms on the emergency exits? Yes. They are not liable for a madman's folly.

Atom Stevens
Atom Stevens

Absolutely not. The theatre did provide police protection to deal with the issues that might typically arise at such a premiere. As for the locks on the theatre doors, those are not intended for security, just loss-prevention (to prevent people from sneaking in the back). I suppose we’re going to have to put signs everywhere now reminding people that you go to a public place at your own risk, whether it’s a theatre, a shopping mall, a sidewalk, or even your own place of employment. Unless you want airport-type security everywhere you go, and want to pay the extra ticket price, higher taxes, or whatever it would take to pay for that, just make peace with the fact that bad things can happen to good people, and there is nothing Cinemark or anyone else could have done to prevent it.

Kris Anger
Kris Anger

Ambulance chaser. This is ridiculous. NO they should not be held negligent. This makes me disgusted in people. Dollar signs are NOT what we should be seeing. Coming together as a community should be.

Stephen At Half Aspen
Stephen At Half Aspen

It's ridiculous to hold a theater liable for the actions of a madman but I expect nothing less from the slithering pile of ambulance-chasing lawyers we've got in this state. Life has risks and while we strive to minimize those risks, we don't live in a perfect world. Want complete safety, buy a fuckin' bubble and crawl on in.

Hope Brannan
Hope Brannan

I don't know. It is uncharacteristic that they would not have Security at a big movie premiere such as that. However, how could they have known a crazed person was going to go on a rampage? This is a sticky situation no doubt. They should however; be sited (at least) for not having the alarm intact on that side door. If it was armed, it would have sounded when that jack off propped it open. So in the end...yeah, I guess they should be held accountable.

mjcaswellsocal
mjcaswellsocal

@zani1 They're going to have to pay a lot more to hire a bunch of EMT Navy Seals. I can't believe these lawyers are trying to make it out to be the theater or employees responsibility. A crazy person did some crazy stuff, he would have figured out a way to do something destructive one way or another.

Beau_COGunOwners
Beau_COGunOwners

 @irritated1 It could also be argued that since "No Guns" signs do not carry the force of law in Colorado that people could have carried a means of protection but chose to not do so. It can also be argued that nobody forced them to go see a movie or even to patronize that particular theater. 

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