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Federal judge: 7 Aurora theater shooting lawsuits should be thrown out

Century 16 theaters, Aurora, Colo. Sept. 21, 2012

Century 16 theaters, Aurora, Colo. Sept. 21, 2012

AURORA, Colo. — According to the recommendation of a federal judge, seven of the lawsuits specifically dealing with claims of negligence and wrongful death filed against the owner of the Century 16 theater in the wake of the Aurora theater tragedy should be thrown out.

Though the word of U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael Hegarty is not final — as the judge will not oversee the cases — his decision will play a crucial role in the lawsuits as they proceed through the legal process.

Many of the lawsuits filed against Cinemark USA suggested that the company be held responsible for poor security, which they say enabled a shooting that killed 12 and injured 58 more on July 20.

According to Hegarty, such claims of negligence and wrongful death cannot be brought against Cinemark, per Colorado law.

“So long as a person alleges injury that occurred on the property of another… the claim must be brought solely under the CPLA,” Hegarty wrote.

That ruling from Hegarty could open a window for the seven defendants to file their suits under the CPLA, or the Colorado Premises Liability Act, a section of law that deals with “slip-and-fall” claims against businesses.

There have been at least 10 federal lawsuits filed against Cinemark, meaning Hegarty did not recommend every lawsuit against the company be thrown out.