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Author Topic: Shooting Lawsuit Update
Martin McCaffery
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From: Montgomery, AL
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 05-19-2016 03:09 PM      Profile for Martin McCaffery   Author's Homepage   Email Martin McCaffery   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Variety

quote:
Cinemark Not Liable in Colorado Theater Shooting, Jury Finds

Gene Maddaus
Senior Media Write
A civil jury has found that Cinemark was not liable in the 2012 mass shooting at its theater in Aurora, Colo., siding with attorneys for the theater chain who argued that the shooting was an unforeseeable tragedy.

Twelve people were killed and another 70 wounded when James Holmes opened fire on the crowd at a midnight screening of “The Dark Knight Rises” on July 20, 2012. Attorneys for 28 victims’ relatives and survivors filed suit in state court, alleging that Cinemark should have done more to prevent the massacre.

The attorneys claimed that Cinemark should have had armed guards, better surveillance cameras and alarms on its exit doors, according to the Denver Post. But Cinemark’s attorneys countered that the attack was “completely unpredictable, unforeseeable, unpreventable and unstoppable,” the Post reported.

Cinemark is the nation’s third-largest theater chain, with 338 theaters in 41 states. Had the lawsuit succeeded, it could have resulted in heightened security measures at theaters across the country. Cinemark’s lawyers emphasized that the odds of being killed in a mass shooting are extremely remote, with one expert putting it at one in 10 million.

The six jurors took less than a day to reach a unanimous verdict absolving the theater chain of liability.

Another trial on the same issue is set to begin in federal court in July.


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Justin Hamaker
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From: Lakeport, CA USA
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 - posted 05-19-2016 10:53 PM      Profile for Justin Hamaker   Author's Homepage   Email Justin Hamaker   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I feel like this was a good verdict. When you go out in public you have to expect there is some risk of bad things happening. Even if the theatre had had armed guards and alarms on the doors, it may not have prevented the attack.

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Jesse Skeen
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From: Sacramento, CA
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 - posted 05-20-2016 12:57 PM      Profile for Jesse Skeen   Email Jesse Skeen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I still think they should have had some sort of sensors on the back exit doors, at the very least to stop people from sneaking their friends in. I saw this happen a lot of times at places I worked. If someone there had noticed the exit door opening during the movie, they'd at least know something was up before the shooting started, although they still might not have been able to completely stop it. I hope that theaters have at least started doing more to prevent the same thing from happening.

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Monte L Fullmer
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From: Nampa, Idaho, USA
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 - posted 05-20-2016 01:15 PM      Profile for Monte L Fullmer   Email Monte L Fullmer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Know one small circuit that did set up an alarm system where when an exit only door was opened, and audible alarm, and very loud as well, would go off in the lobby.

Alarm could be shut off by management team only.

Now, if the door was checked prior to turning off the alarm was another matter....

Do agree with the outcome that Cinemark isn't held accountable - just one of those things that happened.

Yet, I'm sure after all of this, that more theatre checks with adding exit doors checks have been implemented.

-Monte

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Justin Hamaker
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From: Lakeport, CA USA
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 - posted 05-20-2016 02:55 PM      Profile for Justin Hamaker   Author's Homepage   Email Justin Hamaker   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I don't think a door alarm system would have done much to prevent this shooting. For one thing, the doors that exit to the outside are normal exit doors in most theatres. Many customers use them to exit the theatre after the show. Having an audible alarm in the auditorium means having to reset it multiple times throughout the day. And when someone exits to have a cigarette or talk on their phone, the alarm is going off during the show.

My company's theatres have these exit doors wired to the alarm system so they have to be closed to set the alarm at the end of the night. When they are opened they sound an alert near the box office. When this goes off during a show we send someone up to check the door and make sure no one is sneaking people in. When it goes off at exit time, we just reset it. If the theatre had had something like this, it would have simply sent another person into harms way. Since it is not unusual (not common, but far from rare) for these alarms to go off during the show, it doesn't create any sense of alarm among the staff.

About the only mistake the staff made was not checking that the door was secure prior to the showing. Had someone pushed on the door they likely would have noticed the latch was disabled. I now specifically train all my employees to do just that.

I think the one thing that might have made a difference is if the auditoriums had cameras located above the doors outside the building which triggered some sort of an alarm when motion was detected. But even this probably wouldn't have given any extra time to call 911 unless someone was right there monitoring the cameras - which is unlikely on a busy midnight opening.

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Buck Wilson
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From: St. Joseph MO, USA
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 - posted 05-20-2016 04:16 PM      Profile for Buck Wilson   Email Buck Wilson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
We have a similar setup to Justin's. Alarm panel beeps right next to the usher when an auditorium door opens. If the movie is letting out, we just reset it. If the movie is running or about to start, if we have competent staff at the time, someone runs down there quickly to see what is happening. We have caught several sneakers that way, and have closed a couple of propped doors, but if there was a gunman... There's nothing to do

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Dennis Benjamin
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 - posted 05-21-2016 07:04 AM      Profile for Dennis Benjamin   Author's Homepage   Email Dennis Benjamin   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
When this unfortuanate tragedy happened and I had heard that he had went in and out the exit door to retrieve his weapons - I realized that the people watching the movie were not the "get up and say something" type.

If I had been in the auditorium, and witnessed someone going out the emergency exit - my "theatre" instinct would have kicked in. I would have made my way down to see what was happening. Of course, my guess would have been he was sneaking other people in - or getting a pizza delivered (It's happened). So, I might have been the first person to get shot. But if he had propped the door open with something, I would be removing the item propping the door open, and going to find a manager. Which would have left him outside. There has been many times where I have been at another theatre watching a movie (not the one I worked at)and reported suspicous activity to the management. People letting others in the back door, kids sneaking in to "R" movies, and weirdos doing thier weird things they do. Truthfully, it's led me to court to testify a few times. But, as a theatre manager, I would hope others would do the same. I can't be everywhere in my building at all times.

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Jack Ondracek
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 - posted 05-21-2016 11:18 AM      Profile for Jack Ondracek   Author's Homepage   Email Jack Ondracek   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Extending this to the absurd: Had the jury agreed with the plaintiffs, I wonder if liability policies would require exit alarms pretty much everywhere else. One could extend the argument that alarms should be placed on exit doors at malls, schools, restaurants, sporting stadiums, even churches... pretty much any unsupervised back door that might give a "bad guy" access.

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Randy Stankey
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 - posted 05-21-2016 04:37 PM      Profile for Randy Stankey   Email Randy Stankey   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
In the case of the Cinemark shooting,

Alarms on the auditorium doors would have only told us that everybody in the theater was about to die.

Video cameras in the building would have only told us where to find the dead bodies.

Armed guards in the theater would have only resulted in MORE lead flying through the air in a crowded auditorium.

You can't say that an alarm would have allowed somebody to call the cops because the cops already came.

You can't say that cameras would have allowed police to identify the shooter because we already identified the shooter and he's already in jail.

You can't say that an armed guard would have stopped the shooter because he acted on a moment's notice in a dark, crowded room. Even an 24-hour, on-site SWAT Team wouldn't have stopped him.

Assuming that fate played out exactly the same way, if there were alarms, cameras and guards in the theater, people STILL would have died.

You can almost never stop a determined criminal acting on the spur of the moment.

No (reasonable) amount of security or technology would have stopped that shooting from playing out almost exactly the same way it did.

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Leo Enticknap
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 - posted 05-21-2016 11:10 PM      Profile for Leo Enticknap   Author's Homepage   Email Leo Enticknap   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Like Randy said.

Furthermore, not only was there no reasonable security precaution that could have prevented or even mitigated this tragedy, but if unreasonable ones had been in place, they would have destroyed Cinemark's business.

We put up with the TSA's "gate rape" because we have no practical other choice if we want to travel more than a few hundred miles (although a friend of mine objects to it so strongly that she regularly travels between LA and Portland by rail, and reports that the trains have been getting fuller over the last couple of years). But we have lots of other choices as to how we spend our leisure time besides going to the movie theater, and if the movie theater experience becomes like going to an airport or a military base, then the business is finished.

When all is said and done, the theater is a public place, and everyone who goes there knows full well that, like in any other public place that doesn't search people for weapons on entry, they are taking the very small risk that they will find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time.

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Manny Montes
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 - posted 05-23-2016 11:54 AM      Profile for Manny Montes   Email Manny Montes   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Good verdict, nothing could have prevented this, even if they checked the door and closed it he could have easily went into the lobby and started shooting as well. No one would have been able to stop him.

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Jack Ondracek
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From: Port Orchard, WA, USA
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 - posted 05-23-2016 05:34 PM      Profile for Jack Ondracek   Author's Homepage   Email Jack Ondracek   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
When all is said and done, the theater is a public place,
Well... not really. In the 'States, it would be termed a "place of public accommodation". I have to remind people of that sometimes, when explaining that our place has rules and, so long as I enforce them fairly evenly, I get to make them. As a private property owner, should the need appear to present itself, I can even make them up as I go along. There are some caveats to that, but the "public" sometimes forgets that their $10 at the gate doesn't buy them a piece of the rock.

Lawyers know this, too... therefore the unfortunate drive to find someone responsible for pretty much anything you don't like these days.

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David Stambaugh
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 - posted 05-23-2016 10:14 PM      Profile for David Stambaugh   Author's Homepage   Email David Stambaugh   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Any reasonable judge or jury can see this is unpreventable in the real world. Congrats to Cinemark. Sorry to the plaintiffs who have been through so much, but you just don't have a case.

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Leo Enticknap
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From: Loma Linda, CA
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 - posted 05-23-2016 11:12 PM      Profile for Leo Enticknap   Author's Homepage   Email Leo Enticknap   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Jack Ondracek
In the 'States, it would be termed a "place of public accommodation".
Sorry ... by "public place," I wasn't trying to suggest that the public have an absolute right to be there, only that the public are routinely admitted there, and that it's understood on both sides (by the business owner and his or her customers) that it's not viable for the business owner to provide airport-style security, and thus that the customer accepts the small risk of becoming a crime victim, just as he would on the public sidewalk.

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Marcel Birgelen
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 - posted 05-24-2016 12:53 AM      Profile for Marcel Birgelen   Email Marcel Birgelen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Brussels was a nice example of how well airport-style security works. It was most likely not the best example of airport security in the world, but then again, does anybody honestly believe a theater could ever provide better security?

You can take all the security precautions you want, but you usually only move the weak spot further down the line.

Security checks at theaters, theme parks, etc.? Once a big line has formed, you just created another weak target.

quote: Jack Ondracek
Extending this to the absurd: Had the jury agreed with the plaintiffs, I wonder if liability policies would require exit alarms pretty much everywhere else. One could extend the argument that alarms should be placed on exit doors at malls, schools, restaurants, sporting stadiums, even churches... pretty much any unsupervised back door that might give a "bad guy" access.
And extending it even more to the absurd:

quote: The earlier quoted Variety article

The attorneys claimed that Cinemark should have had armed guards, better surveillance cameras and alarms on its exit doors, according to the Denver Post.

So, essentially, if the jury would've agreed, then it would potentially require all those venues not only to have alarms on their exits, but also armed guards and CCTV which covers all nooks and crannies, including someone who actually supervises the CCTV.

It's obviously that no normal business can prepare for those kind of exceptional events. If you really want to go this route, where do you draw the line? Next up: meteorite-proofing your roof.

I guess it's better to put some more efforts in keeping those kind of exceptional events exceptional...

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