On July 20, 2012, James Holmes went to Century Aurora 16 multiplex and went on a 10-minute shooting/killing rampage.
The people, his victims that he aimed at were all watching the new movie out at the time, “The Dark Knight Rises” and at the end of his rampage, he had murdered 12 people and injured 70 others.
When we say injured, we are talking brain damaged, paralyzed, that traumatic reoccurring nightmare that some have recalling the details and sounds of that night.
Marcus Weaver, is one of the people who was attending that movie that night and he has these nightmares, he often dreams about what happened on July 20th in the movies and he hears the sounds of gunshots.
That’s not all of it either because Marcus recalls the feeling of his friend’s body slumped over him when his friend died that day.
At some point Marcus was able to escape with his life and he eventually realizes that he too has been shot, but his wound was just in his shoulder.
It’s 2016 now and they are a secret group of survivors who have been meeting together for four years. Now, they feel that they’re prepared to settle with the company who own the movie theater that changed their lives back in 2012.
At the time of the suit, the case is in federal court and the judge overseeing it has gathered both parties together for a conference call and he’s urging for the plaintiffs to settle their case with the Cinemark companies and they only have a 24 hour window to come to a middle ground of a settlement or reject a settlement too.
The plaintiff attorneys went at it with the defendants to come to a settlement agreement, but the deal also had some wording to it that will shock people.
Under Colorado law, the plaintiffs who reject whatever deal they are handed, and they choice to go for the judge’s ruling and they lose that ruling then they, the survivors, would have to payback the defendants court fees that were accumulated.
So by 4 p.m., the Cinemark’s attorneys came forth with a settlement offer and before it was even read, a federal magistrate spoke to Marcus.
He asked Marcus to remember the slow pace of changes to things. He wanted Marcus to also know that changing theater safety would also be at a slow pace too.
“It was the biggest smack in the face,” Marcus said. “He was basically telling us, you’re right, they’re basically at fault, but there’s justice and then there’s true justice.”
The deal… the deal that they were given was a $150,000 amount that was going to be split among 41 people.
Marcus even asked his attorney Phil Hardman, “That’s it?” Phil told Marcus, “That’s it.”
Marcus saw the bigger picture of that settlement too, he saw it as Cinemark acknowledging that the theater was going to take measurements to protect the people who frequent their theaters. While that thought was in his mind, he still had something worrying him, he said, “It was the 12th hour, we were all feeling the same way. We all knew they were liable. We knew they were at fault. [The settlement] was a slap in the face. But I said, ‘Let’s go for it because it’s better than nothing.'”
When they’re told that if they don’t accept the settlement and they lose their case, then they owe what comes out to more then $699,000.
Marcus said, “Either seek justice and go into debt, or take that pitiful offering of money and the improved public safety.”
What would you do?
The people involved in the suit and the plaintiffs attorneys agreed on how the settlement money would be split… $30,000 each to three of the most critically injured survivors whereas, the remaining 38 plaintiffs would receive and equal share of the remaining $60,000.
And this is where the cookie crumbles because out of 41 people one lady rejected the settlement offer.
This lady lost a child in the massacre, her unborn baby and now she is paralyzed and once they heard that she was rejecting that settlement, Marcus and 36 other people pulled themselves IMMEDIATELY out of the case.
Since the 37 people pulled out of the case that left just four plaintiffs remaining. And after Judge Jackson ruled Cinemark not liable for the damages, that meant that the four people had to pay the court fees for the Cinemark companies that were named in the suit.
And in the end of it all, Marcus said, “Theaters aren’t any safer. It’s almost like everything was for naught.”
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