Movie theater chain goes on trial over 2012 Colorado massacre

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon

Civil suit against Cinemark headed to court

DENVER (Reuters) -- Jury selection was due to begin on Monday in Colorado for the first civil trial of wrongful death and personal injury claims stemming from a 2012 mass shooting in which 12 people were killed and dozens wounded in a suburban Denver movie theater.

READ MORE: Surprising new crisis threatens the Republican Party

A group of more than two dozen plaintiffs, including surviving victims and relatives of the dead, have sued the movie theater chain Cinemark USA and the cinema's property owners in state court, accusing them of various security lapses.

According to the lawsuit, the companies failed to hire sufficient security personnel in light of the cinema's previous history of shootings and other violence.

RELATED: Tributes to the shooting victims from 2012

4 PHOTOS
NTP: Crosses put up to honor Colorado theater shooting victims
See Gallery
Movie theater chain goes on trial over 2012 Colorado massacre
CENTENNIAL, CO - JULY 16: Shooting victim Caleb Medley (L) leaevs the Arapahoe County Justice Center after a verdict was delivered in the trial of James Holmes on July 16, 2015 in Centennial, Colorado. Holmes was found guilty on all counts in the 2012 movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado. (Photo by Theo Stroomer/Getty Images)
CENTENNIAL, CO - JULY 16: Jansen Young, an Aurora shooting victim whose boyfriend was killed, speaks after a verdict was delivered in the trial of James Holmes at the Arapahoe County Justice Center on July 16, 2015 in Centennial, Colorado. Holmes was found guilty on all counts in the 2012 movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado. (Photo by Theo Stroomer/Getty Images)
CENTENNIAL, CO - JULY 16: Lonnie and Sandy Phillips, the parents of shooting victim Jessica Ghawi, speak after a verdict was delivered in the trial of James Holmes at the Arapahoe County Justice Center on July 16, 2015 in Centennial, Colorado. Holmes was found guilty on all counts in the 2012 movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado. (Photo by Theo Stroomer/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

It also cited a lack of surveillance cameras around the theater's perimeter, a faulty emergency exit alarm that failed to go off when the gunman launched his attack through the cinema's rear door, and the failure of theater security personnel to intervene once the shooting started.

Plaintiffs' attorney Marc Bern said Cinemark was especially negligent in failing to notify its general managers about a U.S. Department of Homeland Security advisory issued in May 2012 warning that movie theaters had been deemed potential targets for terrorism.

Texas-based Cinemark owns the Century 16 Theater multiplex where the gunman, James Holmes, opened fire with a semiautomatic rifle, shotgun and pistol during a midnight screening of the Batman film "The Dark Knight Rises" on July 20, 2012.

In its answer to the lawsuit, Cinemark said the case should be dismissed because the chain "did not have the legal duty to foresee the injury-causing mass murderous assault committed by James Holmes, nor did it have the legal duty to prevent it."

Holmes, a former neuroscience graduate student who pleaded innocent by reason of insanity, was found guilty last summer of murdering 12 people and wounding 70 in the rampage, and was sentenced to life in prison.

Jury selection in the civil trial, the first arising from the fatal rampage, was slated to begin in Arapahoe County District Court in Centennial, Colorado, with opening arguments expected to possibly get under way by day's end.

The plaintiffs are seeking unspecified damages for past and future economic losses, including medical expenses, lost wages and earning potential and disability, as well as for pain, suffering and emotional stress.

A separate personal injury and wrongful death case filed in federal court is expected to go to trial in July.

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners

People Have Been Making Chicken Wrong The Whole Time - Here's The Best Way To Do It People Have Been Making Chicken Wrong The Whole Time - Here's The Best Way To Do It
Glass-Printed Photos from Fracture Are an Easy Way to Make Your Room All Nice and Pretty Glass-Printed Photos from Fracture Are an Easy Way to Make Your Room All Nice and Pretty
Farmer Came Outside To Check On The Animals - And Found This In Her Pasture Instead Farmer Came Outside To Check On The Animals - And Found This In Her Pasture Instead