9/08/2012

Why the lawsuit planned against the Cinemark Aurora Movie Theater over the July 20th shooting could be much stronger



I think that the lawsuit by the New York law firm of Napoli, Bern, Ripka and Scholonik, the same firm that represented 9/11 first responders, is missing the mark on what they are looking to push here.  I would note the issue of gun-free zones.

'The victims here are some of the worst types of injuries that I have seen in over 37 years of practice,' said Mr Bern. 'I believe that the primary responsibility at this point rests with Cinemark.' 
Partnering with a local law firm, Mr Bern said they're currently investigating whether there were any past incidents at the theatre and whether they should have had more security on the night of the July 20 shooting. . . .
An earlier news story had this mention:
The Colorado movie theater at which 12 people were killed and 58 wounded by a gunman this month did not have any uniformed security guards on duty the night of the July 20 shootings, even though other US theaters had additional protection that night.Guards hired by movie theater complexes generally spend their time roaming the complex, checking bags and dealing with disputes, the Associated Press reports. While it is impossible to know whether guards would have found the weapons brought into the Aurora theater by James Holmes, they would have had the authority to check his bags and possibly prevent a tragedy.
Holmes entered the theater with an AR-15 assault rifle, a shotgun, and two .40 caliber Glock handguns.
Cinemark normally hire off-duty police guards to work at the Aurora theater on busy Friday and Saturday nights – except on the opening night of “The Dark Knight Rises,” during which the shootings occurred.
The theater complex also hired security on other nights on a case-by-case basis, depending on how much trouble was likely to occur. . . .
Some theaters, including Beaumont, had armed security guards during the first few days of the Batman showings. . . . .
The New York Daily News reported:
THE COLORADO movie theater where the “Dark Knight” massacre took place didn’t have uniformed security guards on duty that night, even though other theaters operated by the same company provided guards for the film’s premiere.
Cinemark provided off-duty police guards at the Aurora theater on busy Friday and Saturday nights, but the company declined to explain why there were no guards the night of the July 20 show. . . . .
But in this case the killer didn't bring the guns through the front theater doors.
A gunman clad in black SWAT gear came through an emergency door at a movie theater in Colorado early Friday, hurled two canisters of an unknown gas and opened fire on the stunned audience, killing at least 12 people and wounding 59 others who were watching the midnight premiere of a new Batman film. . . .
The Hollywood Reporter has this:
Mike Dorn, a security consultant in Macon, Ga., says hiring armed security officers and training employees to flag unusual behavior are likely the best answer. He cautions against using metal detectors and X-ray screeners, which could cost a theater as much as $1.5 million a year to operate including personnel. For Cinemark, which runs 298 U.S. theaters, that could cost $447 million if every theater was equipped -- not to mention annoying customers who would be subjected to airport-style screenings. If the machines aren't manned properly, there's little point. "This happened with schools," says Dorn. "They spent hundreds of millions of dollars with little or no improvement, and guns still got through." . . .
The video mentions that the law firm might also go after the people providing mental health care to the killer.  From the CBS affiliate in Denver:
Also in their crosshairs, the mental health professionals suspect James Holmes saw in the past.
“Either they did warn, and if they did, who did they warn. And if they failed to warn, should they have warned?”
That has been a central question in the case, and because of doctor-patient confidentiality, it’s something that may never be revealed.
Aurora police say no major incident like a shooting has ever happened before in the theater, but has happened in the nearby mall. Cinemark has yet to comment on the impending litigation. . . .
It is hard to believe that there will be enough past incidents at or near the movie theater that will create a pattern that the plaintiffs can successfully say represents negligence by the movie theater.  Looking at the other movie theaters in Aurora or east Denver is it unlikely that the Cinemark theater had less security than other theaters.  Possibly Mr. Bern thinks that the horror of this crime and the desire by a jury to make someone liable will be enough, but I doubt it.  Instead, why not go after the fact that this was the only theater that prevented people from protecting themselves.

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