Theater company Cinemark has shot back in the a lawsuit filed by victims of the July 2012 shootings at an Aurora, Colo., screening of "The Dark Knight Rises," saying that the suit should be dismissed because the theater had "no control or right to control" suspect James Holmes.
In its answer to victims Denise Traynom and Brandon K. Axelrod, Cinemark also claims that it "is not the proper defendant" in the suit, because Cinemark subsidiary Century Theatres, Inc., actually owns the Century Aurora 16, the theater where the shootings took place.
Cinemark predictably denies or claims insufficient knowledge of the bulk of the accusations made in Traynom and Axelrod's complaint, including the claim that a shooting prior to the July 2012 massacre had occurred at the theater.
Cinemark also claims that it did not breach any legal duty in relation to the shootings, which the company's response calls "legally unforeseeable" — and that, even if it did, the plaintiffs' injuries were caused by Holmes, not the theater.
"The First Amended Complaint should be dismissed because, even if Century foresaw and had a legal duty [to] prevent the mass murderous assault committed by James Holmes, which Century did not, and even if Century breached any such legal duty, which Century also did not, the sole and proximate cause of Plaintiffs' alleged damages and injuries was the intervening and unforeseeable criminal conduct of James Holmes," Cinemark's filing reads.
Cinemark's answer to the complaint continues, "Plaintiff's alleged damages and injuries, if any, were caused by James Holmes, over whom Century had no control or right to control, and may have been caused by the conduct or omissions of other third persons, over whom Century had not control or right to control."
Holmes, 25, has been charged with 24 counts of murder and 116 counts of attempted murder in connection with the shootings, which left 12 dead and dozens injured. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty, with a trial scheduled to start in February 2014, ABC News reports.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.