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Judge consolidates Colorado theater shooting lawsuits

Shooting survivors and victims’ relatives claim the Cinemark theater chain failed to implement adequate security measures prior to the July 20 shooting rampage

A federal judge on Monday consolidated seven lawsuits filed against the Cinemark movie theater chain in connection with July’s theater shooting that left 12 people dead and 58 wounded.

On July 20, suspect James Holmes allegedly opened fire on moviegoers attending a midnight showing of the Batman film “The Dark Knight Rises.” Holmes, who was arrested minutes after the shooting, has been charged with more than 100 counts of murder and attempted murder.

Following the tragedy, survivors and family members of the victims brought civil lawsuits against Cinemark, which owns the Aurora, Colo. theater where the rampage took place. The lawsuits allege that Cinemark did not have adequate security measures in place, even though it was aware of several violent crimes that occurred in or near the theater.

Cinemark has filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuits, arguing that there was no way the theater could have predicted or prevented the mass shooting. "It would be patently unfair, and legally unsound, to impose on Cinemark, a private business in the entertainment industry, the duty and burden to have foreseen and prevented the criminal equivalent of a meteor falling from the sky," the motion says.

U.S. District Judge R. Brooke Jackson merged the lawsuits Monday, in the first hearing in the case. He also set May 5, 2014 as the earliest start date of any trial involving personal injury and wrongful death claims against Cinemark.

Read more about Monday’s hearing at Thomson Reuters.

For more InsideCounsel coverage of the Colorado theater shootings, see:

Batman studio likely not liable in Colorado theater shootings

Colorado theater shooting victims sue movie theater owners

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

Alanna Byrne

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