In this week’s discussion, Andy and I discussed several interesting legal issues, including the following:
1. In the Aurora shootings, the Colorado court decided that all claims brought by the victims and their families against the movie theater must be brought under the Colorado Premises Liability Act. Many of the victims and their families have filed lawsuits against the theatre for failing to provide adequate security at the midnight showing of Batman. The crux of the claims are that the theater had reason to know that there could be an act of violence and they failed to provide the security that would have prevented this massacre. In Colorado, when a landowner is accused of causing or contributing to an injury or death as a result of their negligence, all claims against the landowner must be brought under the Colorado Premises Liability Act. According to the Act, the duties of the landowner vary depending on whether the injured person is a trespasser, licensee or invitee. In the cases of the Aurora shootings, since everyone that was hurt or killed was an invited guest of the theater (meaning they paid to be there and were on the property with the permission of the property owner), the duty owed to them is one of what we refer to as “reasonableness.” In other words, the victims in this case will need to prove that the landowners either knew or should have known of the potential dangers and failed to take appropriate action to protect their guests.
While this tragedy was ultimately caused by the shooter, oftentimes landowners know of potential dangers but do nothing to fix the problem. As a negligent security law firm, we represent victims of landowner negligence similar to what occurred in Aurora. In this particular case, it appears that the theater had security in place during their normal day-time showings and, for unknown reasons, provided less security for the evening showing of Batman. Whether that lack of security can provide evidence of negligence will ultimately be left for the jury to decide.