|Dallas Plaintiffs Attorney Frank Branson quoted in Law360 article |
Cinemark Is Likely Covered For Colo. Tragedy
|July 20, 2012 11:58 pm|
Law360, New York (July 20, 2012, 9:41 PM ET) -- Insurance lawyers said Friday that it's likely a commercial general liability policy would protect Cinemark Holdings Inc., the parent company of the theater where a gunman killed 12 people and injured dozens more at a midnight movie screening outside Denver, from the negligence suits that are likely to follow.
In the attack early Friday morning, 24-year-old James Hughes shot an automatic rifle and other weapons into an Aurora, Colo., theater crowded for the opening of the Batman movie "The Dark Knight Rises," according to the Associated Press. The incident was unexpected and horrific but is not likely to be excluded from insurance policies because it wasn't the result of intentional action by the theater, attorneys said Friday.
Negligence claims against the theater could be possible if victims and their families say it should have done more to prevent the shooting with better security, or that it could have mitigated the damage if it had better crowd control or evacuation procedures, attorneys said.
Plaintiffs attorney Frank Branson, who has brought cases against companies for having inadequate security, said the theater could be exposed to liability if it didn't have enough guards or if theater staff hadn't gotten instructions on how to act in case of an emergency.
"I'd like to know how they were trained and what their policies and procedures stated about the safety of the customers, who trusted them," Branson said.
Referring to reports that the gunman entered the theater and propped open an emergency exit door that he re-entered after retrieving the guns from his car, Branson said someone should have noticed that an emergency exit door was open. He also suggested the theater should have had better procedures for checking patrons who donned costumes for the opening night of the movie, the third in a blockbuster trilogy that has won critical acclaim and huge box office sales.
Others said the crime was so extreme that it could not have been foreseeable.
© Copyright 2012, Portfolio Media, Inc.
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