Claims of negligence and wrongful death against the Colorado theater where a gunman went on a shooting spree in July should be tossed out, a federal magistrate judge said on Thursday.
The Denver Post reported that the decision by U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael Hegarty applies to seven lawsuits filed last year in federal court against Cinemark, owner of the Century Aurora 16 theater where the attack took place.
The shooting, which left 12 people dead and 58 wounded, sparked at least 10 lawsuits against Cinemark claiming that poor security at the theater enabled the gunman’s attack, the report said.
Hegarty says that Colorado law does not allow people wounded or families of people killed in the shooting to make claims of negligence and wrongful death against the theater. His decision is merely a recommendation to U.S. District Court Judge R. Brooke Jackson, who is overseeing the case, but it carries significant weight, according to the Post.
The suspected gunman, James Holmes, is in prison awaiting trial. He is charged with 24 counts of first-degree murder — two for each of the people killed when he opened fire on the audience at a late night showing of "Dark Knight Rises." He is also charged with 116 counts of attempted murder and possession of explosives. Holmes has not entered a plea.
The Century Aurora 16 in the Denver suburb of Aurora, Colo., which was closed after the July 20 mass killing, reopened last week, after months of renovation and redesign.