Cinemark, the third-largest movie theater company in the U.S., is asking the victims of the Aurora movie theater shooting to pay its court costs that resulted from a failed civil case against the company.
In a filing in Arapahoe County District Court, Cinemark attorneys submitted a bill of costs to the court, asking the judge to award them $699,187.13. That’s how much Cinemark said it spent on mock trial costs, docketing and experts and filing fees.
The shooting at the Aurora Century 16 theater on July 20, 2012, took the lives of 12 people. At least 70 people were injured.
A number of survivors and victims’ families took Cinemark to court, alleging in a civil case the company could have done more to prevent the shooting. A jury recently decided in Cinemark’s favor.
Among the people who sued Cinemark and might now have to pay the company for the costs of the trial are the families of Alex Teves and Jessica Ghawi, who both died in the movie theater, as well as Yousef Gharbi, who survived a bullet wound to his head and Farrah Soudani, whose friends had to hold her insides in after she was shot.
“They should be ashamed.They have done nothing to help the people affected that night," said Sandy Phillips, who lost daughter Jessica Ghawi in the shooting. "Homeland Security warned this could happen at theaters and they chose to do nothing to secure the safety of their patrons. That was not allowed into testimony. These people have been hurt enough,”
"In a cruel reversal, here we have the very theater chain, that the theater shooting victims believe was at least partially at fault for their injuries, turning around, seeking them for damages instead," 9NEWS Legal Analyst Scott Robinson said. "When a case goes to trial, particularly a case that involves complicated and sophisticated issues, you have expert witnesses. And those expert witnesses, that's what really drives up the cost in a civil lawsuit."
In its corporate profile, Cinemark says “we are ranked either No. 1 or No. 2 by box office revenues in the 22 of our 30 U.S. markets.”
"From a legal and corporate strategy standpoint, Cinemark may have decided that they wanted to discourage future lawsuits against their chain for personal injuries. The question is, how big is going to be the backlash that the public chooses to impose on what appears to be a corporate bully," Robinson said.
9NEWS left a message and an email for Kevin Taylor, the Denver-based attorney for Cinemark, as well as a message and email for Cinemark’s public relations unit seeking comment.
Another judge last week dismissed a federal lawsuit, similar to the civil case.