How survivors of the Aurora massacre came to owe money to theater in a court case

The Century 16, site of the Aurora theater shootings. (Algr/Wikimedia/CC BY-SA 3.0)

A lawsuit filed by survivors of the Aurora theater shooting came to a surprising end this year: The plaintiffs were told that they owed money to Cinemark, the owner of the movie theater where James Holmes murdered a dozen people.

By June 23, the 41 plaintiffs in the federal lawsuit knew they probably wouldn’t win, the Los Angeles Times reports. Their lawsuit argued that Cinemark should have done more to ensure the safety of the theater, but another group of survivors had just lost the same argument in a different case.

The federal judge urged the plaintiffs to take a settlement with Cinemark; the theater chain offered $150,000 to be split among all the plaintiffs, LAT reports.

All of the plaintiffs were ready to take the deal, except for one, according to reporter Nigel Duara. One of the most grievously affected people reportedly did not want to settle.

With the plea deal falling apart, almost all of the plaintiffs withdrew from the case – and 15 were left to pay significant court costs, Duara reports.

Head over to the Los Angeles Times for more on what the case means, and why some of the plaintiffs think they could have done better.

Correction: The LA Times has updated its article to say that 15, not four, plaintiffs were left to pay. Also, the $700,000 figure originally described was what the theater chain asked of the plaintiffs in the state case, not the federal case. A sum was not announced in the federal case, according to the LA Times.

Andrew Kenney

Author: Andrew Kenney

Andrew Kenney writes about public spaces, Denver phenomena and whatever else. He previously worked for six years as a reporter at The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C. His most prized possession is his collection of bizarre voicemail. Leave him one at 303-502-2803, or email