The first lawsuit related to the James Holmes shooting has been filed by a movie-goer who was in attendance at the Century Aurora 16 last Thursday night—but not one who was in theater 9.
TMZ reports that Torrence Brown, Jr., was in theater 16 at the time of the shooting. Brown’s friend A.J. Boik was in theater 9, and was shot in the chest and killed. Brown has hired attorney Donald Karpel to sue for damages for the extreme trauma he suffered and continues to suffer.
Karpel tells TMZ that his suit targets three parties: The theater, which he claims was negligent in leaving the emergency exit doors at the rear of the teater unguarded (TMZ says it’s “widely believed Holmes entered the theater with a ticket, propped the emergency door open from inside, went to his car and returned with guns), Holmes’ doctors, who Karpel says prescribed drugs Holmes was on during the shooting and for which they failed to monitor him, and Warner Brothers.
Of implicating Warner Brothers in the suit, Karpel implies that the movie’s violence confused viewers who thought Holmes’ shooting was part of the scene. He says, “Somebody has to be responsible for the rampant violence that is shown today.”
Not that anyone has the right to judge the experience of anyone who was at Century 16 last Thursday night, but it does seem odd that the first lawsuit filed in the incident is from someone who wasn’t in theater 9. Clearly there were many hundreds of people traumatized by the event, both in theater 9 and outside of it—maybe some kind of class action suit would better express solidarity between the victims?
At any rate, including Warner Bros. in the suit is bound to be the biggest conversation starter. If an incident like Aurora can’t move the political needle in terms of curbing machine gun sales I can’t imagine we’d entertain legal ramifications for putting a gun in a movie. Then again, entertainment industry lobbying is no match for the NRA’s influence.