Judge Orders Aurora Theater Shooting Victims To Pay 700k

Aurora Colorado Theater Massacre james holmes

Aurora, Colorado Theater Shooter, Sideshow Bob

Judge Orders Aurora Theater Massacre Victims To Pay 700k

A judge has ordered victims of the 2012 Aurora theater shooting to pay Cinemark Theaters $700,000 after they lost a lawsuit against the company.

It has been four years since the Aurora theater shooting took place during the premiere of “The Dark Knight Rises” at a Colorado theater. James Holmes, AKA Sideshow Bob, murdered 12 people and left more than 70 others injured that night.

A group of survivors filed a lawsuit against Cinemark Theaters arguing that the company did not have strong enough security measures in place, which ultimately allowed James Holmes to enter the theater dressed in a trench coat armed to the teeth. They lost the lawsuit and now a judge has ordered the Aurora shooting victims to pay back $700,000 in legal fees.

Cinemark’s lawyers stated that they spent $500,000 on experts to testify alone. The final $200,000 was spent on preserving evidence, records, travel and other expenses.

During the trial, Cinemark did offer a settlement which the judge encouraged the victims to take. The judge even issued a warning to the victims stating that if they lost, they would have to pay a substantial amount back to Cinemark in legal fees. One of the victims, Marcus Weaver, who was shot in the shoulder, called that settlement a “slap in the face.” The settlement would have been divided between 41 victims.

Originally, they agreed to a $150,000 settlement, but one victim who lost two children (one unborn) and ended up paralyzed during the horrific event, refused.

Marcus Weaver believes that if they had won, theaters across the nation would be safer. “Theaters aren’t any safer,” Weaver said. “It’s almost like everything was for naught.”

These families were torn apart that night by a deranged individual. They lost mothers, brothers, sisters, fathers, and children. Some were left paralyzed and others brain-dead. The PTSD and emotional toll on the victims is also significant.

This lawsuit was destined to fail from the start. The theater chain clearly had no responsibility for the horrific actions of Sideshow Bob. Suing the locations where shootings happen makes about as much sense as suing firearm manufacturers for creating the guns used in the shootings. By pressing a baseless lawsuit, these shooting victims forced the company to spend hundreds of thousand of dollars defending itself.

Do you think that these victims should be liable for the $700,000 debt? Let us know on our Facebook page.

  • Brenda Marie Jenkins

    Unfortunately, I do think the judge made the right decision. Although what happened was a horrible tragedy, the theater had no responsibility in what took place there. With that being said, the theater still offered a settlement to ease some of the burden to the victims and it was flatly refused… even after the judge urged them to accept it and warned they would be liable for the theater’s legal fees and expenses if they lost. It’s a terrifying, senseless thing that happened in that theater, but the lawyer representing the victims should not have gotten their hopes up for a payoff when the theater really did not have any fault in the matter.

    • Dakota Riley

      I agree wholeheartedly…

    • Justin Williams

      Actually only 2 of the victims refused the others took the settlement so it wasn’t flatly refused

  • Dustin

    They are liable for damages under Colorado Law , a fact that the attorneys who , smelling a big payday , solicited them to the lawsuit were aware of . It is my understanding that these selfsame pariahs , inserted a ” Hold Blameless ” Clause , that is excusing the attorneys from sharing in repayment of damages , in case they lost ! YAY for ambulance chasers !

  • bws001

    They made the cinema fork over unnecessary legal bills of course they are liable…. For some reason they though the cinema was a safe place… it’s not neither is a sporting event or a supermarket… bad things happen.. they should have sued the state for not allowing them to protect themselves.

    • Brad Fish


    • Kevis

      It wasn’t the state that interfered with that right, it was the theater’s gun free zone policy. Problem is they sued for protection by the theater, not over the theater’s interference with their right to defend themselves.

  • Brad Fish

    The judge got it right. I’m sorry for the victims, but the theater isn’t responsible for what Holmes did. He is. They were going after the theater’s deep pockets. Probably some ambulance chasers idea.

    • Kevis

      Not quite true. Correct decision due to flawed argument. It should have been over the interference with the right of self defense, which would have had the several armed audience members not fearing legal repercussions for stopping the attack.

      • Griz Grizzly

        Sorry, but your argument is flawed as well. Did the patrons knowingly enter a private establishment that decided to be a gun-free zone? Yes. So they made the decision themselves to be in an environment that limited their ability to defend themselves.

        • Chris Christopher

          Correct. Nobody was forced into a gun-free zone, they went there voluntarily. The could have happily been armed to protect themselves sitting in their homes. I don’t visit gun-free zones for the simple fact that although the sheep feel comfortable there, I do not. I’ll wait for the Blu-Ray to come out. Stop going to gun-free zones and let the management know your reasoning. Some call it paranoia, but I consider it self-preservation.

      • Brad Fish

        Actually, I would agree with you on that.

  • Kevis

    They lost because they sued for the wrong factor, it certainly has resulted in an ironically tragic outcome. The theater is responsible in light of their gun free zone policy interfering with the public’s right to defend themselves. It’s not so much the theater didn’t prevent the shooting as they facilitated it by that policy, which coupled with the lack of security in lieu of citizens ability to defend, should have had Cinnemark held liable. But the anti-gun zealots that coddled the victims would never push that point.

  • Griz Grizzly

    They filed against the theater because a lawyer told them. “Somebody must be held responsible and must pay for your pain. And since the guy who actually committed the crime is in jail and has no money, let’s sue the theater.” This is the equivalent of a guest you had over for dinner suing because some nut job breaks into your house during dinner and shoots them. Are you the one responsible, or the nut job?

  • Mary D

    I totally understand the anger, hurt. loss and all that.But it wasn’t the theaters fault some psychopath went on a rage. Suing them was just a product of this sue happy world where everyone wants to point fingers and blame someone else except the person really at fault. (because they couldnt get money out of him) Its a movie theater not a government building, They can not be responsible or prepared for the world today. It is not their job or their responsibility. They are a movie theater! If you want to be mad, be mad you didnt care enough about your own personal safety to have a weapon and train yourself how to use it! Don’t put yourself in a vulnerable situation and hopefully the victims family learned from this! I always carry no matter what.

    • Mary D

      oh and gun free zone or not, unless they have a metal detector. or at an airport. I always carry and they should have as well!

      • david ratay

        Absolutely right!

      • Chris Christopher

        Carry in a gun free zone and you are no longer a law abiding citizen.

        • Justin Williams

          If you are carrying a gun on you in a gun free zone and have a concealed to carry permit then you still are a law abiding citizen

  • ben dover

    It sucks, but it was a frivolous lawsuit. Theaters are what they are, put in more security and ppl will hate it. It would cost too much anyway. The price of freedom. They should have heeded the judges warning. There is no way theaters should have to pay.????

  • david ratay

    Wait a darn minute! If it was a “gun free zone” shouldn’t that have prevented the whole thing? Oh yeah! Now I remember, CRIMINALS DON’T FOLLOW THE RULES!

  • Scott Sursa

    Here is the problem Cinemark has a no weapons policy….. They should be held liable because individuals were not allowed to exercise their 2nd ammendment right…. Had there been some one inside with a weapon it’s possible the numbers would probably have been lower on those injured and killed…. Recently Tennesse passed legislation protecting folks from establishments that keep them from exercising their 2nd amendment right in the event they get hurt by a shooter…..

  • John Richard Cox

    At the time of the shooting, there was no CCW allowed in Aurora. The movie theater was only upholding statutes already in place. The victims should have sued Aurora for denying them the opportunity to defend themselves adequately during that attack.

  • christine

    I feel absolutely terrible for the trauma the victims suffered, but the judge made the right decision. It wasn’t the movie theater’s fault that a psychotic murderer chose to open fire in that particular building. They were warned that if they lost they would have to pay. They were offered a settlement and refused it. I don’t pretend to understand the awful experience and loss those poor people have experienced, but suing the movie theater was the very definition of a frivolous lawsuit. What were they hoping to accomplish? I’m sure that every public place in the world could (and maybe should) beef up their security. But even if we had strict security in every single public place, something will always slip through the cracks. (Not to mention that most people would just bitch and complain about any extra security checkpoints that they have to stop for. There’s just no pleasing some people.)

  • Joseph White

    Stupid theatre. It’s going to be hard for people to go to the movies when they’ve got a 700k bill around their neck. I’d imagine that suddenly a lot of people will find another theatre to go to.

  • BenRichards

    Does anyone really think the theater was responsible for this attack? Sympathy for the victims and their families but this lawsuit was ridiculous. And the judge warned the plaintiffs of the consequences if they lost? Some people are just blinded by money.

  • Patrick J Murphy

    Perhaps they should sue their own attorney for bad advise on pursuing further. I wonder, had he or she had skin in the game with regards to paying those legal expenses would the advise have been different. You can’t be assigning culpability to public entertainment venues over and above what is normally expected. What’s next/ Little league diamonds?

  • Dirkweed

    Price for being GREEDY! IDIOTS got what they deserve! We need way more of this being turned back on frivolous filers!!

    Did they also sue “Sideshow Bob” THE ONE PERSON who IS actually RESPONSIBLE? If not, then they were just after $$, too bad!

  • ML

    No way should they have to pay the legal fees. What I’ve spent at the movies on popcorn and soda alone has been almost that much! The movie theater can afford it just off my purchases alone!

  • Piquerish

    Sorry, I hate that they had that dire experience. I also hate that they used it to try for a ride on the gravy train. Hope the slip-fall lawyer(s) feels all warm and special inside.