Now that James Eagan Holmes is sitting in a jail cell awaiting his day in court, those left in the aftermath of the July theater shooting in Aurora, Colo., are trying to sort out who might else be to blame.
And for some of the victims, the fingers for the secondary blame is being pointed squarely at Cinemark. Two new lawsuits have been filed by Denise Traynom, Brandon Axelrod and Joshua Nowlan claim that the theater chain could have done more to prevent Holmes from allegedly entering Theater 9 at Cinemark’s Aurora location multiple times and killing 12 people and wounding 58 others.
The separate lawsuits claim that Holmes was able to use a rear exit to the theater to haul in ammunition and that there were no alarms, no security and no employees around to try and slow him down or even stop him, according to Deadline.com.
“There was no alarm activated during the many minutes while the gunman was stockpiling his arsenal, and inside the theater shooting people,” one of the two lawsuits claims. “There was no action taken by theater employees to safely evacuate the many people left in Auditorium 9.”
The plaintiffs are being represented by the Denver firm of Keating Wagner Polidori Free, a firm that primarily represents injured people, and have recovered “hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation” for its clients, according the firm’s website. That includes a nearly $40 million award the firm says it won for an unmaintained utility pole causing a spinal injury.
Cinemark owns nearly 300 theaters across the country, but has kept the Aurora theater closed since the shooting with plans to reopen it early next year. Just after the shooting, Cinemark shares on the New York Stock Exchange dropped 6 percent immediately after the shooting, but quickly recovered.
Holmes was back in court just last week, sporting a normal hair color, and looking different from the wild, out-of-touch appearance he seemed to have soon after the shooting. Prosecutors had hoped to gain access to a notebook that allegedly belong to Holmes, but dropped the request unless Holmes’ mental health becomes an issue. The defense had claimed the notebook was protected under physician-patient privilege.
The shooting took place during midnight opening screenings of “The Dark Knight Rises,” the final installment of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. The film went on to make a little more than $1 billion worldwide, pulling in $443.1 million domestically.