Calls for boycott after Cinemark requests legal fees from victims of 2012 shooting
Cinema chain is asking victims of attack in Aurora, Colorado, to pay $700,000 legal fees after they unsuccessfully sued the chain
The relatives of people killed by James Holmes at a 2012 screening of The Dark Knight Rises have called for a boycott of Cinemark following news that attorneys for the cinema chain are demanding they pay $700,000 (£526,000) in legal fees.
The request comes after jurors in May ruled in Cinemark’s favour over 28 victims and their families, who argued that the chain – the third-largest in the US – should have done more to prevent the attack that killed 12 people and left more than 70 injured. They sued in state court, saying security lapses allowed for the 20 July 2012 attack at a midnight premiere of the new Batman film.
Cinemark’s lawyers told a judge they need the money to cover the costs of preserving evidence, retrieving and copying records, travel and other expenses, according to court documents filed this month. The request was not immediately ruled upon, yet Colorado courts allow the winning side of a court case to recover legal fees.
An appeal by the victims is said to be pending; some family members of those who were killed or injured in the shooting are now calling for a boycott of the chain, which recently posted quarterly revenue of $704.9m (£530m).
“Please boycott Cinemark,” tweeted Sandy Phillips, whose daughter Jessica Ghawi was among those killed. “Don’t add to their $194m profit while they come after Aurora victims who have lost everything.”
The hashtag #BoycottCinemark began trending in the US on Thursday night with California’s lieutenant governor, Gavin Newsom, among those registering distaste at the chain’s actions.
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) July 1, 2016
Among those the cinema is requesting repayment from are the families of two men who saved others in the cinema.
A judge last week dismissed a similar lawsuit in federal court, saying Cinemark’s lack of security was not a substantial factor in the deaths.
In both lawsuits, victims cited a lack of guards and no alarm on an emergency exit door that would have sounded when James Holmes slipped into the crowded cinema and started shooting.
Cinemark argued it could not have foreseen the attack, and nothing could have stopped Holmes, currently serving multiple life sentences after jurors could not unanimously agree on whether he deserved the death sentence.