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Jury: Cinemark not liable in theater shooting

Posted: 11:33 AM, May 19, 2016
Updated: 2016-05-20 01:20:47Z
Jury: Cinemark not liable in theater shooting
Jury: Cinemark not liable in theater shooting
Jury: Cinemark not liable in theater shooting

Cinemark Theaters has been cleared of liability for a mass shooting that left 12 people dead and 70 others injured.

Jurors deliberated less than three hours in the civil lawsuit filed by 27 victims and family members.

“I’m gravely disappointed in the outcome,” said plaintiff’s attorney Marc Bern. “Unfortunately, the victims of this tragedy… have been dealt another blow.”

Bern said Cinemark was negligent in providing for the safety of its patrons.

He said the company should have had cameras outside the theater, a silent alarm on the back door and armed guards.

He noted that Cinemark used armed guards at that theater on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

“But for a special event, expecting a thousand people for the premier of a blockbuster move, they did not have that type of security,” he said.

Cinemark’s attorney, Kevin Taylor, said jurors could see that the mass shooting, committed by James Holmes, was “unstoppable, unforeseeable, unpreventable and unpredictable.”

“The evidence is that by mid-June, Mr. Holmes was very fully committed,” Taylor said. “In between mid-June and when he committed this act, he completely booby-trapped his apartment in ways that were heretofore unforeseen, and never experienced before by law enforcement that investigated the Oklahoma City bombing and that investigated the Unibomber.”

Taylor told Denver7 that jurors determined that Cinemark endured a tremendous tragedy, “as did the victims of this case, the entire Aurora community and first responders at the hands of a madman."

“Justice was done, in our view, 11 and a half months ago when Mr. Holmes was found solely at fault for this horrendous, horrendous crime, that I hope our state and our nation never again endures,” he said.

Bern said he believes there were significant issues and substantial areas where an appeal will very likely reverse this decision.

“We fully expect to try this case again,” he said. “I believe these victims were denied justice.”

When asked what evidence was excluded from the civil trial, Bern wouldn’t elaborate.

“We’ll wait until we review the transcript before outlining what evidence should be included in the appeal,” he said.

Bern said he hopes there have been changes in security regardless of the outcome of this case.

“Just today,” he said, “they’re talking about another plane that went down (Egypt Air) and are speculating that it might have been the result of some kind of terrorist act. We have to be on constant lookout, constant vigil, whether it’s at the airport, the theater or wherever. We are living in a post 9/11 world and we must understand that. We can’t act like it’s 1950.”

Taylor said Cinemark is a company that first and foremost cares deeply about all of its patrons and has a very special place in its corporate heart.

“I think you saw that from the employees who testified for all the victims of this [tragedy] including the people who were killed and injured in auditorium number nine.”