Survivors of the Aurora cinema massacre have been ordered to pay the theatre company $700,000 (about £530,000) in legal fees after their unsuccessful lawsuit.
The request to receive the massive payment came in June, after a jury ruled against the survivors who were suing the chain for not doing enough to prevent the massacre that saw James Holmes kill 12 people and injury 70 others in July 2012.
After being found not liable for the shooting, Cinemark asked for money from the victims to cover the costs of preserving evidence, retrieving and copying records, travel and other expenses – including $500,000 that was used to get experts to testify on its behalf, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Lawyers for Cinemark filed the ‘bill of costs” for $699,187.13 in June.
— Metro (@MetroUK) September 11, 2015
The judge has pleaded with the survivors to accept a settlement deal of $150,000 in compensation from the chain during the trial, however they after a mother whose son was shot dead said she would not accept, they turned it down.
One of the victims, Marcus Weaver, told the LA Times it felt like: ‘Either seek justice and go into debt, or take that pitiful offering of money and the improved public safety’.
He added: “Theaters aren’t any safer. It’s almost like everything was for naught.”
But Cinemark, the third-largest theater chain in America, argued it could not have foreseen the attack, and nothing could have stopped the Holmes, who was heavily armed.
12 people were killed & 70 injured during a screening of The Dark Knight Rises at the 2012 Aurora Theatre Shooting. pic.twitter.com/U4p9VacGMJ
— Serial Killers (@MurderFactfile) January 10, 2016
Lawyers for the plaintiffs in the state case have said they are considering appealing the verdict.
Holmes, who pleaded innocent by reason of insanity, was found guilty last summer. He was sentenced to life in prison.
After months of planning, Holmes walked into the auditorium, threw gas canisters into the crowd of more than 400 and then opened fire with an assault rifle, shotgun, and semi-automatic pistol.
He had also rigged his apartment with bombs, the Daily Mail reports.
Cinemark has 338 theaters in 41 states. If Cinemark had lost the case, it could have forced theater companies across the U.S. to adopt costly security measures that could have increased ticket prices significantly, experts said.
While the victims and their families may have lost the case, here’s to hoping they find the justice they deserve.