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Judge: Aurora suits under liability law

Jan. 26, 2013 at 1:38 PM

AURORA, Colo., Jan. 26 (UPI) -- A Colorado judge recommended that seven lawsuits of negligence and wrongful death against an Aurora movie theater be brought under a premises liability law.

Lawsuits have been filed against Cinemark by those wounded and the family members of those killed in the 2012 mass shooting in Aurora, Colo., in which 12 people died.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael Hegarty ruled that seven of the lawsuits that specifically deal with claims of negligence and wrongful death on the part of the theater can't be brought against the chain as part of Colorado law, KDVR-TV, Denver reported.

"So long as a person alleges injury that occurred on the property of another... the claim must be brought solely under the [Colorado Premises Liability Act," Hegarty wrote.

Cinemark challenged whether the plaintiffs had a valid complaint under the CPLA because the events of that night were unforeseeable, The Hollywood Reporter reported.

The plaintiffs said the theater should have known about previous criminal activity in the area and should not have had unlocked and unmonitored exit doors and a lack of security personnel.

"The extent of Defendant's knowledge in this case has yet to be explored," Hegarty wrote. "Discovery may reveal that other more serious crimes had occurred at or near the theater and that Defendant had knowledge of such crimes. Further, as the Court noted at the hearing, discovery might show that Defendant had knowledge of and/or concern for the numerous mass shootings that had taken place in the United States in recent times."

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