Four years after James Holmes set off tear gas grenades and shot multiple firearms into the premiere of "The Dark Knight Rises" at an Aurora, Colorado, theater, a group of survivors must pay the theater $700,000.
The fees were ordered after victims and their families lost state and federal lawsuits that claimed that the Cinemark theater chain should have done more to prevent the attack that killed 12 people and left more than 70 others injured.
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A judge dismissed the class-action lawsuit in federal court, saying that Cinemark's lack of security was not a substantial factor in the deaths, The New York Daily News reported. Cinemark argued that it could not have predicted the shooting and wouldn't have been able to stop Holmes.
Cinemark's lawyers told a judge that they need the money to cover the costs of preserving evidence, retrieving and copying records, travel and other expenses, according to court documents. The theater chain's lawyers spent $500,000 on experts to testify on its behalf, the Los Angeles Times reported.
During the trial, the judge encouraged the survivors to take a settlement deal.
Marcus Weaver, who was shot in the shoulder during the rampage, called that settlement a "slap in the face." The money would have been split among 41 plaintiff, the Times reported.
The judge warned the plaintiffs that if they rejected the settlement and lost, they would have to incur significant legal costs.
"Either seek justice and go into debt, or take that pitiful offering of money and the improved public safety," Weaver told The Times.
The victims originally agreed to take the $150,000 settlement, but one plaintiff rejected it. She lost two children in the massacre, one of them unborn. She was also left paralyzed.
Had the victims won the case, theater companies would have been forced to change security measures to prevent future mass shootings.
"Theaters aren't any safer," Weaver said. "It's almost like everything was for naught."
Read more at the Los Angeles Times.
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