As if a lifetime worth of trauma weren't enough for those who witnessed the 2012 Aurora, Colorado, movie theater shooting, survivors of the massacre must now pay at least $700,000 in legal fees to Cinemark.
According to the Los Angeles Times, following court documents the franchise filed in June, a judge ruled that, indeed, four Aurora shooting survivors would be responsible for the bill.
"A blind guy in a dark alley could have seen [the state verdict] coming," attorney Phil Hardman told the Times. Hardman had represented survivor Marcus Weaver (whose friend had been killed in the massacre) in the federal lawsuit.
Weaver had pulled out of the suit, opting to split the $150,000 settlement Cinemark offered among the 41 plaintiffs involved in the case in order to avoid the threat of the $700,000 payment. Still, he called his meager $3,658 cut a "smack in the face."
At an October hearing, the theater's representation argued, ""It would be patently unfair, and legally unsound, to impose on Cinemark, a private business in the entertainment industry, the duty and burden to have foreseen and prevented the criminal equivalent of a meteor falling from the sky," according to Deadline.
When the outlook for their case looked increasingly bleak, Weaver said the plaintiffs had hoped to at least focus on asking Cinemark to take steps to make theaters safer to prevent future tragedies. But after the final verdict, Weaver said the case hadn't even been able to make theaters safer.
He told the Times, "It's almost like everything was for naught."