Aurora Theater Shooting

James Holmes case: Cinemark lawsuits amend references to prior gang shooting at Century 16

The Aurora theater shootings have spawned a number of lawsuits against Cinemark, owner of the Century 16, where James Holmes allegedly killed twelve people and wounded 58. But two of the suits were subsequently amended to remove direct references to prior gang shootings at the theater -- a rationale for holding Cinemark negligent in the attack. And in a motion to dismiss on view below, the company makes pointed reference to the change.

The first pair of suits was put forward by Denver-based Keating Wagner Polidori Free, P.C., on behalf of three people injured in the attack: Denise Traynom and Brandon Axelrod, pressing the case jointly, and Joshua Nowlan. The two suits were filed in United States District Court for the District of Colorado circa September.

Then, earlier this month, attorney Marc Bern, who successfully sued on behalf of 9/11 first responders, filed a negligence suit against Cinemark in Arapahoe County District Court. Among the plaintiffs, as we've reported, are Farrah Soudani, who got an assist from to help defray enormous medical costs associated with the serious injuries she sustained, and Yousef Gharbi, a teenager shot in the head during the assault.

Another plaintiff is Mike White, Sr., who was at the theater with his son, Mike White, Jr., during the fateful screening of The Dark Knight Rises. The elder White wasn't physically injured, but his namesake suffered severe wounds.

All three suits argue that the Century 16 should have had security personnel on hand at the midnight premiere because of prior crimes that took place at the theater. Here's the language in the Traynom-Axelrod and Nowlan documents, with italics added to key words....

Included in the previous incidents at the theater was at least one shooting, involving gang members. These previous incidents also included assaults and robberies.
In the amended version of the suits, however, these passages were tweaked. The sections, with italics inserted by us for clarity, now read as follow:
Included in the previous incidents near the theater was at least one shooting, involving gang members. These previous incidents also included assaults and robberies.
The switch from "at the theater" to "near the theater" jumped out to Cinemark's attorneys, whose motion to dismiss the suits draws the court's attention to the freshened-up sections.

Continue to read Cinemark's responses to the changes in the lawsuits filed against the company.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts

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