Last month, a Colorado jury found James Holmes guilty of 24 counts of first-degree murder and 134 counts of first-degree attempted murder, in addition to other findings of guilt, in his July 2012 rampage shooting at an Aurora, Colorado movie theater.
The shooting was tragic. 12 people lost their lives. Another 70 were injured. In the wake of this tragedy, multiple civil lawsuits have been filed against Cinemark, the company that runs the movie theater. The state court lawsuit is set for trial next May, while the federal lawsuit is set for trial next July.
These lawsuits are based on the concept of premises liability.
Collectively, the lawsuits claim that Cinemark is legally responsible for providing a safe movie theater, and that Cinemark failed in this regard. The main thrust of the lawsuits claims that Cinemark should have done more to protect their movie patrons. For instance, one of the lawsuits claims that local police received more than 100 emergency calls from that movie theater in the four months leading up to the shooting. This shows that there was a good amount of emergency or criminal activity at this location and that Cinemark knew of this emergency activity level. Another lawsuit claims that 80 of the 300 Cinemark theatres hired off-duty police to work as security for the midnight showing of The Dark Knight, the night of the showing, and this particular theatre should have done the same.
This case is different than the criminal case. This is not a civil case against the actual shooter, but a civil lawsuit based on the reasonably foreseeable risk of danger and the failure of the movie theatre to provide a safe environment.
Some of the more common premises liability cases are slip and fall cases, defective conditions on premises cases and inadequate maintenance of the property. The overarching concept is that the property owner may be responsible for the injuries a person suffers while on that entity’s property. The owner must take a reasonable effort to provide a safe environment. The analysis is case specific and depends on the facts and circumstances of each individual case. If a property has been negligent with regard to maintaining a safe premises, and you have been injured as a result, you may be able to bring a personal injury claim against the property owner for their negligence.
If you have been injured as the result of a property owner’s negligence, please consult with the premises liability attorneys at Martinez & Schill LLP to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case. We work with clients throughout Southern California. There is no cost to you unless and until we win your case. Call 619-512-5995 for our San Diego Office or 951-200-4630 for Riverside.