Four survivors of the 2012 Colorado theater shooting massacre were ordered by a judge Thursday to pay Cinemark nearly $700,000 in legal fees.
The 28 families of those killed and wounded in the July 2012 shooting sued Cinemark, the movie chain that owns the Century 16 where James Holmes opened fire during a showing of “The Dark Knight Rises,” claiming that there wasn’t adequate security to stop Holmes from carrying out the attack.
An Arapahoe County civil jury ruled in May that Cinemark wasn’t liable for the shooting that left 12 people dead and 70 others. Lawyers for Cinemark then filed a “bill of costs” for $699,187.13 in June in the country court. The Denver Post noted that under state law, the winning side in a civil case is entitled to recover all of its legal costs.
According to KDVR-TV, the families are appealing the judge’s ruling.
The Los Angeles Times reported that a group of the survivors were prepared to settle with the movie chain in a federal case that was brought after U.S. District Judge R. Brooke Jackson said he was going to rule in favor of Cinemark. Even though the jury’s verdict decided the case in May, Cinemark and the plaintiffs were negotiating a settlement and had until June 24 to decide to take it.
According to the paper, Cinemark offered $150,000 to be split among 41 plaintiffs with three most critically injured to each receive $30,000. The remaining would split around $60,000.
One plaintiff said that the offer felt like a “slap in the face,” but the four plaintiffs who didn’t take the deal were warned that Cinemark would move forward to recoup all the legal fees that had accumulated.
“Either seek justice and go into debt, or take that pitiful offering of money and the improved public safety,” survivor Marcus Weaver told KDVR-TV.
One plaintiff turned down the deal and 37 others withdrew themselves from the case.
Ashley Moser, Stefan Moton, Joshua Nowlan and Nickelas Gallup remained in the lawsuit and a judge ruled on June 24 that Cinemark wasn’t liable for damages, according to the station.
The LA Times reported that the court costs in the state case were nearly $700,000 and the federal court costs are expected to be a lot more.