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Cinemark not liable in 2012 Colorado movie massacre


(Reuters) — The owners of a movie theater where 12 people were killed during a screening of the Batman film "The Dark Knight Rises" are not liable for the mass shooting, a jury ruled on Thursday, in the first civil lawsuit stemming from the 2012 incident.

Jurors ruled in favor of Cinemark USA Inc. in the lawsuit filed by more than two dozen surviving victims of the shooting and relatives of the dead, court spokesman Rob McCallum said on Twitter.

Gunman James Holmes, who pleaded innocent by reason of insanity at his murder trial, was found guilty last summer of killing 12 people and wounding 70 when he opened fire during a midnight screening of the film. He was sentenced to life in prison.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs argued that Cinemark and its co-defendants, the theater's property owners, should be held liable for various security lapses which they said had contributed to the tragedy at the Century 16 Theater multiplex in Aurora, Colorado.

But attorneys for Texas-based Cinemark told jurors liability for the carnage rested mainly with Holmes, and not the theater owners.

Owners and managers of the theater could never have foreseen, nor safeguarded against, such a seemingly random but meticulously planned and violent attack, Cinemark's lawyers had said in closing arguments on Wednesday.