A midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises ended in tragedy several years ago. The legal battle over the events of that night have continued since then, however, it now appears that they are coming to an end. Following their victory in court, the Cinemark theater chain had asked those that had filed suit against them to pay for their legal costs. The company has now withdrawn that request, as part of an agreement that the plaintiffs will not appeal the decision.
The families of those that had been hurt and killed on that night in Aurora, Colorado had sued Cinemark on the belief that the theater's security was lacking, and thus unprepared for a gunman to enter the theater and begin shooting. However, a Colorado court ruled that the attack was unforeseeable and thus, Cinemark was not liable. Colorado law allows the winning side in a lawsuit to seek to have their court costs paid by the losing side, and so, Cinemark had requested $700,000 from the victims which had brought the suit. The Denver Post is reporting that the two sides have now reached an agreement, Cinemark will not go looking for repayment, as long as the victims forgo any appeal of the verdict against them.
Assuming this deal holds, it will put an to the civil lawsuits stemming from the shooting. A federal judge had recently thrown out a similar case against the theater chain saying that the lack of security was not a substantial factor in the deaths. That case has also been appealed. Two victims who were paralyzed in the attack are still part of that appeal.
It would appear that Cinemark has decided it's best to simply swallow their existing legal fees, rather than risk the possibility of seeing them increase in the future. There apparently was an appeal of the verdict being handled by the victims so this wasn't simply a proactive measure. All but four of the plaintiffs had agreed to drop the appeal a couple of weeks ago, now the final four have agreed to the settlement as well.
It's as good a thing for Cinemark that this issue is now behind them. While they prevailed in court, the fact that they were seeking to have their legal fees covered left a bad taste in the mouths of many. Regardless of their legal rights to do so, it felt like the company was sticking it to the victims one last time. Now the theater chain can start to put the event behind them as well.
Since the events of Aurora, there have been a handful of additional violent events inside movie theater across the country, though, luckily, we seem to have gone some time without one. While the families of those who lost loved ones will never truly be the same, hopefully, nobody else will have to deal with similar tragedy ever again.