DENVER (CBS4) – While the mass shooting was taking place in Connecticut the Aurora theater shooting was the subject of a legal debate in Denver federal court.

Victims are suing the owners of the theater where the massacre occurred. On Friday, lawyers for Cinemark, which owns the Century 16 theaters, asked that the lawsuits by victims be dismissed.

At issue is whether there was adequate security at the theater. Guards were normally on duty Friday and Saturday nights, but the movie was a midnight premier of the new Batman movie early Friday morning and no guards were on hand when the shooting broke out.

Using a cane, theater shooting victim Joshua Nowlan left court with his attorney at his side. He is one of those suing the owners of the Century 16 theater where he was shot in the arm and leg.

“I’m a single guy with two boys, and they see their dad with one good leg and one good arm, and taking care of two kids with one leg and one arm — it’s tough,” Nowlan said.

Cinemark contends there was no way to predict the shooting would happen. A Cinemark attorney asked, “Was it foreseeable a meteor would fall from the sky and hit a person in a restaurant?”

But magistrate Judge Michael Hagerty replied, “When was the last time you heard somebody was struck by a meteor?”

Lawyers for the victims claimed the theater should have had security.

“The Cinemark Theater at this point is trying to keep the public from knowing what happened,” attorney Mike Sawaya said. “They’re trying to keep the facts out of what they hadn’t done about the fact that there was no security.”

They said there were security measures in place to protect the theater’s assets, but not its customers.

Cinemark’s lawyers called it a random, unusual shocking event and the victims would only have a claim if Cinemark knew a mass murder was going to occur.

The judge will rule in the next few weeks.


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