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Judge dismisses theater shooting lawsuits against Cinemark

AURORA, Colo. >> A federal judge on Friday dismissed a consolidated group of lawsuits brought against the owner of the Colorado movie theater where a gunman killed 12 people and wounded 70 others.

Judge R. Brooke Jackson dismissed the lawsuits brought against Cinemark by several victims of the July 20, 2012, attack, according to The Aurora Sentinel (http://goo.gl/Ax99rN ).

The judge wrote that even if the lack of security guards and an alarm on the theater’s exit door led to some of the injuries or deaths, shooter “(James) Holmes’ premeditated and intentional actions were the predominant cause of plaintiffs’ losses.” Jackson added that any inaction by the theater owner was not “a substantial factor in causing this tragedy.”

The plaintiffs said the theater did not do enough to ensure their safety on the night of the shooting.

In May, jurors in a similar lawsuit found that Cinemark was not liable for the rampage, rejecting arguments that the theater should have foreseen the possibility of violence at a crowded midnight premiere.

The case was watched closely by theater security consultants, some of whom predicted that a verdict against Cinemark would mean sweeping and costly changes to the way theaters protect customers.

In Friday’s order, Jackson also cited a lawsuit brought by Sandy Phillips, the mother of theater shooting victim Jessica Ghawi, against the gun shops where Holmes bought ammunition for the massacre. The judge noted the court in that case concluded that meticulous planning on Holmes’ part was the “substantial factor” leading to the shooting.

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