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Colorado shooting survivor plans to sue theater, suspect’s doctors and Warner Brothers

In the past, judges have dismissed similar lawsuits against video game and movie producers

A survivor of the Colorado movie theater shootings plans to file the first lawsuit in the wake of the tragedy, and, sure enough, one of its targets is Warner Brothers, the studio behind the latest Batman trilogy.

Torrence Brown Jr., who was in the Century 16 Theater during the shooting, has reportedly hired an attorney to file a suit in the case. Though Brown was not physically injured, he claims he is suffering from extreme trauma after witnessing the death of his friend A.J. Boik, who was shot in the chest.

Brown’s lawyer says the suit will target three defendants: the movie theater, for not securing or guarding its emergency door; Holmes’ doctors, for allegedly failing to properly monitor his medications; and Warner Bros., for the violence shown in “The Dark Knight Rises.”

Brown could have hard time proving his claims, however. In the past, judges have dismissed similar lawsuits against film and video game makers, ruling that on-screen violence is protected under the First Amendment. Courts have also ruled that the link between fictional and actual violence is too tenuous to justify such claims: After the 1999 Columbine High School massacre, a Colorado judge dismissed a lawsuit against 25 entertainment companies, saying that they could not have foreseen that their products would incite the shooters to violence.

Charges against the theater and Holmes’ doctors could also be difficult to prove, according to some experts. To win the first count, Brown would have to show that the theater acted unreasonably and that it anticipated, or should have anticipated, a threat. And his claims against Holmes’ doctors could run into trouble, as communications between physicians and their patients are generally considered confidential.

Read more at TMZ.

For more InsideCounsel coverage of the Colorado shootings, see:

Batman studio likely not liable in Colorado theater shootings

Alanna Byrne

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