A survivor of the Aurora movie theater massacre said he believes “everything was for naught,” after a failed lawsuit against the theater owner Cinemark left four survivors on the hook for more than $700,000 owed to the company.
The survivors had filed an unsuccessful federal lawsuit alleging that the theater’s security flaws had helped enable the attack that left 12 dead and more than 70 injured in 2012.
The judge first urged the plaintiffs to settle, but ruled after the deal collapsed that Cinemark was not liable for the shooting, according to the Los Angeles Times. Colorado law allows the winning side of civil cases to seek costs, so plaintiffs were then ordered to pay more than $700,000 to Cinemark to reimburse the theater chain’s legal fees.
Marcus Weaver, one of the shooting survivors and a plaintiff in the case, told the Los Angeles Times he had been hoping a settlement would push Cinemark to implement new safety measures that could protect theatergoers in the future.
But after one plaintiff rejected the settlement offer, the remaining plaintiffs were left with no acknowledgment of liability from Cinemark, no guarantees of improved theater safety, and a colossal bill for the company’s litigation costs.
“Theaters aren’t any safer,” Weaver said. “We all knew they were liable. We knew they were at fault.”
Weaver also said he had been approached by a federal magistrate judge who likened the failed case to the slow pace of the civil rights movement.
“It was the biggest smack in the face,” Weaver said. “He was basically telling us, ‘You’re right, they’re basically at fault, but there’s justice and then there’s true justice.'”