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Aurora Theater Lawsuits: Wrongful Death Claims Can Move Forward

Aurora Theater Lawsuits: Wrongful Death Claims Can Move Forward

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Published by FindLaw
Calling it a "close call," a federal judge on Wednesday allowed victims to pursue wrongful death and liability claims against Cinemark, which owns the Colorado movie theater where 12 people were shot to death last summer.

U.S. District Judge R. Brooke Jackson indicated that it wasn't an easy decision but said the 10 lawsuits pose questions of interpretation and application of law.

"I suspect that many people, despite overwhelming sympathy and grief for the victims of the Aurora theater shootings, might upon hearing about these lawsuits have had reactions like, 'How could a theater be expected to prevent something like this?' " Jackson wrote. "I confess that I am one of those people."

James Holmes has been charged with murders and attempted murder in criminal court. Ten separate civil lawsuits were filed against Cinemark USA, which responded by saying that it couldn't have foreseen a shocking criminal act.

Jackson dismissed a claim of negligence but let stand a claim of wrongful death and another claim filed under Colorado's Premises Liability Act.

Calling it a "close call," a federal judge on Wednesday allowed victims to pursue wrongful death and liability claims against Cinemark, which owns the Colorado movie theater where 12 people were shot to death last summer.

U.S. District Judge R. Brooke Jackson indicated that it wasn't an easy decision but said the 10 lawsuits pose questions of interpretation and application of law.

"I suspect that many people, despite overwhelming sympathy and grief for the victims of the Aurora theater shootings, might upon hearing about these lawsuits have had reactions like, 'How could a theater be expected to prevent something like this?' " Jackson wrote. "I confess that I am one of those people."

James Holmes has been charged with murders and attempted murder in criminal court. Ten separate civil lawsuits were filed against Cinemark USA, which responded by saying that it couldn't have foreseen a shocking criminal act.

Jackson dismissed a claim of negligence but let stand a claim of wrongful death and another claim filed under Colorado's Premises Liability Act.

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Categories:Business/Law
Published by: FindLaw on Apr 18, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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1IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTFOR THE DISTRICT OF COLORADOJudge R. Brooke JacksonCivil Action No. 12-cv-02514-RBJ-MEHDENISE TRAYNOM, andBRANDON K. AXELROD,Plaintiffs,v.CINEMARK USA, INC.,d/b/a CENTURY AURORA 16,Defendant. ________________________ Civil Action No. 12-cv-02517-RBJ-MEHJOSHUA R. NOWLAN,Plaintiffs,v.CINEMARK USA, INC.,d/b/a CENTURY AURORA 16,Defendant. _________________________ Civil Action No. 12-cv-02687-RBJ-MEHDION ROSBOROUGH,RYAN LUMBA,TONY BRISCOE,JON BOIK, next friend of Alexander Boik, andLOUIS DURAN,Plaintiffs,v.CINEMARK USA, INC.,d/b/a CENTURY AURORA 16,Defendant. ___________________________ Civil Action No. 12-cv-02704-RBJ-MEHJERRI JACKSON,Plaintiff,v.CINEMARK USA, INC.,d/b/a CENTURY AURORA 16,Defendant. ____________________________ Civil Action No. 12-cv-02705-RBJ-MEHGREGORY MEDEK, andRENA MEDEK,Plaintiffs,
Case 1:12-cv-02705-RBJ-MEH Document 39 Filed 04/17/13 USDC Colorado Page 1 of 16
 
2v.CINEMARK USA, INC.,d/b/a CENTURY AURORA 16,Defendant. ____________________________ Civil Action No. 12-cv-02706-RBJ-MEHTHERESA HOOVER,Plaintiff,v.CINEMARK USA, INC.,d/b/a CENTURY AURORA 16,Defendant. ____________________________ Civil Action No. 12-cv-2900IAN SULLIVAN,Plaintiff,v.CINEMARK USA, INC.,d/b/a CENTURY AURORA 16,Defendant. ______________________________ Civil Action No. 13-cv-00114-RBJ-MEHLYNN JOHNSON, MACHAEL SWEENEY, MALIK SWEENEY by and through his parents and next friendsMACHAEL SWEENEY and LYNN JOHNSON,MALACHI SWEENEY AND MACHI SWEENEY,v.CENTURY THEATERS, INC.; CINEMARK USA, INC.,d/b/a CENTURY AURORA 16,Defendants. ______________________________ Civil Action No. 13-cv-00045-RBJ-MEHCHICHI SPRUEL andDERICK SPRUEL,Plaintiffs,v.CINEMARK, USA, INC., d/b/a CENTURY AURORA 16Defendant ____________________________ 
Case 1:12-cv-02705-RBJ-MEH Document 39 Filed 04/17/13 USDC Colorado Page 2 of 16
 
3Civil Action No. 13-cv-00046MUNIRIH F. GRAVELLY,Plaintiff,v.CINEMARK, USA, INC.,d/b/a CENTURY AURORA 16,Defendant.
ORDER 
These cases are before the Court on motions to dismiss filed by defendant Cinemark. On November 27, 2012 the Court referred the seven cases then pending to United States MagistrateJudge Michael E. Hegarty for various purposes including the preparation of a recommendationon the motions to dismiss. On January 24, 2013 the magistrate judge issued his recommendationthat the motions be granted in part and denied in part. Cinemark filed a timely objection to the
recommendation. Certain plaintiffs have objected to the magistrate judge’s recommendation to
dismiss their wrongful death claims.Meanwhile, three additional cases have been filed. Cinemark filed similar motions todismiss those cases, and the motions have now been fully briefed. There is no reason to refer theadditional cases to the magistrate judge at this time, because the motions and issues areessentially the same as those on which he has issued his recommendation. For the reasons setforth herein, the Court dismisses the negligence claims but denies the motions to dismiss thestatutory claims.
I.
 
FACTS.
These cases arise from the tragic shootings that occurred at the Century Aurora 16 theater complex in Aurora, Colorado on July 20, 2012. For purposes of a motion to dismiss for failureto state a claim upon which relief could be granted under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) the Court must
Case 1:12-cv-02705-RBJ-MEH Document 39 Filed 04/17/13 USDC Colorado Page 3 of 16

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