The mass shooting at the premier of the Dark Knight Rises has inevitably led to a suit being filed against the Colorado movie theater owner, Century Theaters. Reports indicate that the theater may be sued based upon negligent security. Perhaps greater security precautions could have been in place to prevent James Holmes from killing twelve people, injuring many more and traumatizing the nation.
On the night of the attack, Holmes allegedly purchased a ticket, left the theater out a back exit, propped the door open and returned heavily armed through that exit. The first lawsuit, filed by Torrance Brown, claims that the security was negligent because that back door should have been equipped with an alarm.
This may be a common lawsuit as the victims of the shooting and the families of those who were killed claim that Century Theaters should have secured the premises more effectively. Brown is, however, also suing the perpetrator’s doctors and the film production company, Warner Bros. Doctors could have done more to treat and control Holmes and the film producers created a film that was too violent, the suit alleges. Whether or not these last two claims are deemed worthy of legal action remains to be seen. However, the negligent security argument may have significant traction.
Should the theater have posted security guards at the entrance and exits of the theater? Should they have anticipated higher than usual risks at this massively anticipated summer blockbuster? Could they have done more to prevent the massacre?
So far only Torrance Brown’s lawsuit is pending but others are sure to emerge. If the theater is held responsible for the massacre in any way, this may set a new standard for how theaters provide security to patrons throughout the nation.