Attendee At Batman Shooting Plans To Sue Warner Bros For Making Batman Too Violent

from the um,-really,-now? dept

We live in a litigious society. That's not a secret. So it's no surprise that, in the aftermath of the Aurora, Colorado Batman shootings, lawsuits will be filed. But as always the question is: who do you sue? Well, if the linked TMZ article is accurate, Torrence Brown Jr., who was in the theater, but not directly injured (though a friend of his was killed), has lawyered up, hiring an attorney named Donald Karpel to sue Warner Bros. for making the movie too violent. He's also apparently planning to sue the theater for not properly guarding the emergency exit, which is apparently where Holmes left and re-entered with the weapons. Oh yeah, and the doctors of shooter James Holmes for not properly monitoring him.

This certainly seems like a frivolous lawsuit. Going after Warner Bros.? For what? That's likely to get laughed out of court. This seems like a clear case of a "Steve Dallas lawsuit," named for the famous Bloom County comic strip in which lawyer Steve Dallas gets beat up by Sean Penn after trying to take a photograph of the star. He then explains why the proper target of a lawsuit is not Sean Penn, but the "Nikolta Camera" company, because "a major corporation with gobs of liquid cash ... was criminally negligent in not putting stickers on their camera which read, 'warning: physical injury may result from photographing psychopathic Hollywood hotheads."
In a coincidence that you simply couldn't make up, it turns out that Karpel once represented (no, seriously) a paparazzi photographer beat up by Sean Penn. Life imitates comic strips.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 24th, 2012 @ 11:27am

    *facegenetalia*

     

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    Nigel (profile), Jul 24th, 2012 @ 11:33am

    Poor Guy

    He is likely a bit rattled and rightly so. This is just going to make matters worse for him though.

    That said, only a complete scumbag of a lawyer would refrain from telling him that the lawsuit is a waste of time and money.

    What a publicity whore(lawyer).

    N.

     

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      Deirdre (profile), Jul 24th, 2012 @ 12:41pm

      Re: Poor Guy

      The lawyer is thinking that if you sue enough people someone (and possibly more than one someone) might settle out. Yes, it is scummy and lawyers doing this make me despair for the legal profession.

       

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    btr1701, Jul 24th, 2012 @ 11:37am

    Evidence

    Seems like he's gonna have an even tougher evidentiary burden than most people who sue claiming a violent movie is responsible for making someone do something violent—considering the fact that movie hadn’t been released and this was the first showing, no one, including the killer, had seen it yet. Pretty hard to establish a causal link between a killer’s actions and a movie he'd never even seen.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 24th, 2012 @ 11:45am

      Re: Evidence

      Yeah, he has to prove the killer has a time machine.

       

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      PaulT (profile), Jul 24th, 2012 @ 12:03pm

      Re: Evidence

      "Pretty hard to establish a causal link between a killer’s actions and a movie he'd never even seen."

      Sadly, that doesn't stop people from trying. Look at the history of the UK video nasties crap in the 80s - virtually every violent crime had the tabloids try to make tenuous links for spurious reasons.

      That is, of course, not the point of this attempt. The lawyer will get paid the guy himself can try to profit, the media will have some idiocy to concentrate on yet again instead of looking at realistic problems that led to the crime. Then we repeat during the next shooting. Sad.

       

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      Wally (at Wife's parents house hence different ava (profile), Jul 24th, 2012 @ 1:24pm

      Re: Evidence

      I do agree somewhat, it's just the first thing that comes to mind was the interrogation scene with The Joker from Dark Knight.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 24th, 2012 @ 10:06pm

      Re: Evidence

      I have seen 2 different movies before the official release. So it is possible he saw it before it was released.

       

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    justok (profile), Jul 24th, 2012 @ 11:49am

    Well

     

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      Ninja (profile), Jul 24th, 2012 @ 12:02pm

      Re: Well

      Unfortunately our society acts guided by hysteria. I won't be surprised when several interest groups show up trying to put in place absurd measures "for the children", because "violent movies make ppl become psychopaths" and many other baseless assumptions. Then stupid laws are rushed through taking a ride in the popular psychological mayhem and we end up running after the chaos to fix all the bloody mess.

      Patriot Act being the main example that comes to mind.

       

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    Ninja (profile), Jul 24th, 2012 @ 11:59am

    *facepalm*

    I take it he never saw the "Saw" movie series. No pun intended.

    Yet ANOTHER case the moral police will try to use.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 24th, 2012 @ 11:59am

    From the linked article:
    Karpel tells TMZ, "Somebody has to be responsible for the rampant violence that is shown today."

    "Something bad happened. Therefore, someone was negligent. Therefore, guess I'd better start suing!"

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 24th, 2012 @ 12:02pm

      Re:

      "Something bad happened. Therefore, someone was negligent. Therefore, guess I'd better start suing!"


      Well, I heard the Century 16 movie theatre —where the massacre occurred— offered all the theater-goers their choice of a full refund on their tickets, or, alternatively, a special vip reshowing of the movie.

      That's obviously an admission of guilt right there!

       

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      Ninja (profile), Jul 24th, 2012 @ 12:07pm

      Re:

      Karpel tells TMZ, "Somebody has to be responsible for the rampant violence that is shown today.

      Umm.. The murderer himself? But because it happened on a cinema then magically everybody else is responsible but the murderer?

      For the record: I agree with you AC.

       

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    •  
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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 24th, 2012 @ 12:09pm

      Re:

      Off hand, that someone probably is the guy who was shooting everyone.

       

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    PaulT (profile), Jul 24th, 2012 @ 12:00pm

    Sadly inevitable that there's at least one idiot like this who will try to profit from the crime.

     

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    Rikuo (profile), Jul 24th, 2012 @ 12:22pm

    Now I haven't read through the comments, so someone might have already pointed this out, but...this lawsuit against Warner Bros. has no merit at all. If I recall correctly, the shooting happened on Friday. Which by the way, was the same day the movie in question was released. So is this survivor claiming that the gunman was affected by a movie he had yet to see?

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 24th, 2012 @ 12:30pm

      Re:

      So is this survivor claiming that the gunman was affected by a movie he had yet to see?


      Pre-release trailers, movie posters, and other wanton and reckless advertising.

      It's not like everyone didn't already know the movie was going to be dark and violent!

       

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        justok (profile), Jul 24th, 2012 @ 1:05pm

        Re: Re:

        Spoilers!!!

         

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          Wally's Dr. Who Fangirl Wife, Jul 24th, 2012 @ 1:49pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Hello Sweetie"

          I'm not sure anyone outside the US has seen the color of the gunman's hair. Forgive me for going towards my husband's profession, but that guy had bright red hair like The Joker in Dark Knight. During his initial pre trial hearing, he was expressionless, and had a very very similar look to what The Joker. The gunman was so obsessed that he lost his identity and substituted the character of The Joker for his own. He's psychosomatic and has a wee bit of OCD, it's very dangerous.

          Now this lawsuit could possibly pertain to the rating. The MPAA put Dark Knight at PG-13. My I can see my husband has clearly pointed the shocking violence in the Interrogation Scene vs other movies he's seen with fake amounts of blood splatter. Dark Knight was as close as you can get to being real injury as you could get. The gunman might have had some sense of revenge in doing this. He may have connected Heath Ledger as real life Joker. Heath Ledger dies from a pain killer overdose (no doubt from doing his own stunts in the interrogation scene in Dark Knight) and the gunman's sick mind wanted revenge.

           

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            btr1701 (profile), Jul 24th, 2012 @ 2:55pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            > but that guy had bright red hair like The Joker
            > in Dark Knight

            Why do people keep saying this? The Joker has GREEN hair.

             

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              JMT (profile), Jul 24th, 2012 @ 4:02pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "...that guy had bright red hair like The Joker..."

              And there goes any credibility you or your argument might have had.

               

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                Wally (profile), Jul 24th, 2012 @ 11:04pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                *unevenly colored red hair, styled like The Joker. And at one point I think the character did have red hair, please forgive my confusion.

                 

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                Wally (profile), Jul 24th, 2012 @ 11:07pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Hair color arguement is actually quite irrelivent. I was pointing out that he was psychologically he became The Joker. As for the red hair, that's the result of a failed green tint.

                 

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                Wally (profile), Jul 24th, 2012 @ 11:12pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Oh and that is my wife you're talking about there. She's new to this and it will take some time for her to get used to the depths of it all.

                 

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      •  
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        Wally (profile), Jul 24th, 2012 @ 11:18pm

        Re: Re:

        The Daily Show's Jon Stewart had mentioned in his wonderfully awesome rant to Viacomm that his 8 year old son was already watching Dark Knight Rises in 3D before its release.

        Oh, and it's much easier for theater employees to get their hands on the movies now. They are now digitally stored and played from projectors that have BluRay players hooked up to them.

         

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    Daniel Brenton (profile), Jul 24th, 2012 @ 12:37pm

    Facepalm

    I'll take "The Personal Abdication of Responsibility" for 500, Alex.

    (Why doesn't the idiot just sue God?)

     

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    identicon
    Bengie, Jul 24th, 2012 @ 12:40pm

    4D!

    Hollywood is trying out a new "dimension" to "going to the movies".

     

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    Spike (profile), Jul 24th, 2012 @ 12:46pm

    Nothing wrong with violent movies, but at least rate them appropriately. All the modern Batman's as they exist should had been R or toned down a LOT to PG-13. They're WAY too dark for PG-13.

    The ratings system is broken and biased, but being run by the MPAA it is of no surprise. PG-13 movies are very profitable.

     

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      btr1701 (profile), Jul 24th, 2012 @ 1:38pm

      Re:

      > Nothing wrong with violent movies, but
      > at least rate them appropriately. All
      > the modern Batman's as they exist should
      > had been R

      Umm... the killer was an adult. He could go to R-rated movies. Rating this movie R would have made absolutely no difference here, and that's even assuming the movie had some causal link to his actions in the first place.

       

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        Wally (profile), Jul 24th, 2012 @ 11:42pm

        Re: Re:

        Well he is Psychosomatic. He tried to emulate The Joker any way he could (failed with dying his hair green...hence the bright red). You see, as my wife pointed out, he got so into character that he forgot his own identity and essentially became Heath Ledger's Joker. His motivations could very well be based on one of the films.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jul 25th, 2012 @ 10:29am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Are you retarded?

           

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          btr1701 (profile), Jul 25th, 2012 @ 12:39pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          > Well he is Psychosomatic.

          That word doesn't mean what you apparently think it does.

          Perhaps you meant psychopathic?

          > You see, as my wife pointed out, he got so into
          > character that he forgot his own identity

          Is your wife on his treatment team or something? Otherwise, there's no way she could possibly know what was going on his head.

          > His motivations could very well be based on
          > one of the films.

          That has nothing to do with whether the fact that the movie had a PG-13 rating instead of an R contributed to this tragedy.

           

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    Spike (profile), Jul 24th, 2012 @ 12:48pm

    Nothing wrong with violent movies, but at least rate them appropriately. All the modern Batman's as they exist should had been R or toned down a LOT to PG-13. They're WAY too dark for PG-13.

    The ratings system is broken and biased, but being run by the MPAA it is of no surprise. PG-13 movies are very profitable.

     

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    identicon
    Craig, Jul 24th, 2012 @ 12:59pm

    Torrence Brown Jr., I am truly sorry for the horrific experience you endured, but suing Warner Bros makes you look like a tool. Suing the theater just makes you look like a prick. Be thankful you are alive. Money can't replace that. Not everyone was as fortunate to have been able to walk away.

     

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    Glen, Jul 24th, 2012 @ 1:01pm

    This is both sad and frustrating at the same time. It must have been a horrifying situation to live through but now to capitalize off of it? Good job of denigrating the memory of your friend.

     

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    Some Other Guy (profile), Jul 24th, 2012 @ 1:17pm

    Reminds me of this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MeXQBHLIPcw

    OK, being in a crowd which got shot at is worse than anything in the video, but the reaction seems the same.

     

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    Wally (profile), Jul 24th, 2012 @ 1:19pm

    Heath Ledger

    Ok, normally I would say WTF to a situation like this. However, I thought of how Heath Ledger died of a pain killer overdose. Anyone remember the interrogation scene in Dark Knight? It was more shocking in my eyes than seeing what I saw in Saving Private Ryan. Even the x-rated version of Robocop (rated X for vilolence I might add) with the slow motion blood splatter of Murphy's hand getting pulverized by shotgun fire. It was way more disturbing than anything I've ever seen. Seeing it the way it was portrayed in that scene in Dark Knight was disturbing because it was over the top, and realistic...no blood, unrealistic splatter, no audible bones broken, just the villain getting a beet down that would have killed a person. It was something you never expect Batman to EVER do,

    I don't think the person complaining about it is biased because of recent incidents.

     

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    sevenof9fl (profile), Jul 24th, 2012 @ 2:07pm

    Funniest Techdirt Article Ending, ever.

    "Karpel once represented (no, seriously) a paparazzi photographer beat up by Sean Penn."

    *wipes tears from laughing*

     

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    torrencebrownsucksdick, Jul 24th, 2012 @ 2:27pm

    this is the loser

     

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    arrgster (profile), Jul 24th, 2012 @ 2:49pm

    He wasn't watching the movie.

    So if he had walked in to Ice Age would they be suing for making it too violent to squirrels? Ridiculousness!!!

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 24th, 2012 @ 8:26pm

    Next...

    Fred Willard plans to sue the porn industry for making movies too sexy.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 24th, 2012 @ 9:32pm

    I think he has a good chance of a settlement from WB. I know WB has already started a pay out campaign for victims of this tragedy.

     

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    identicon
    Alex, Jul 24th, 2012 @ 10:05pm

    I think it's just stupid to sue over how violent a movie is.

    If you think about it, the commercials for the movie gives a taste of what you will find in the movie itself. If they sue on those ground, I hope they get tossed out on their asses for an invalid lawsuit.

    They knew what they were getting into when they bought their ticket. This would have not happened had they not been attacked. So the real problem is the attack and the pending civil and criminal lawsuits on James instead of the Hollywood producers, directors and studio that produces these movies.

    Warner Brothers didn't make James do what he did, nor did they have anything to do with his mental state. That's all his doing and not getting help before something came to a head.

    If it wasn't the Joker, it would be some other character I am sure he would fantasize about and want to become. Essentially, he wanted to be a villain.

    There are a lot of people dress up as the Joker at Comic Convention and I have never seen those people go absolutely nuts and shoot up the crowd there.

    So, I don't think studios should get into doing payouts because it really doesn't make sense to do it. However, suing the university where James was studying and working should be looked at very closely and possibly sued because they must have known something was up with that odd behavior, surely someone in the psychology department would have noticed it and took concern (too bad it wasn't action).

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 24th, 2012 @ 10:20pm

    There is another aspect to consider. Batman himself is actually a mentaly ill billionare vigilante, that is then embraced by law enforcement. Something to think about.

     

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    Wally (profile), Jul 24th, 2012 @ 11:23pm

    Realism

    The only valid point the guy could make is that the guns fired in this movie (wife took me to see it tonight) were incredibly uncanny from the real thing. Reports were saying he had fired when everyone on screen started to shoot at each other.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 24th, 2012 @ 11:58pm

    ROFL Too violent? Go watch holocaust cannibal "This movie was so fucked up they made them prove the actors was not murdered on film" or one of the many very fucked up movies out there..

    You can watch it on Google video but I suggest not watching it if you have a weak stomach and for the love of god do not let the kids watch it rofl..

     

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    Gethen (profile), Jul 25th, 2012 @ 5:51am

    Mister Brown, the violence that you witnessed wasn't actually on-screen...

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 25th, 2012 @ 7:56am

    Torrence Brown Jr is a complete idiot! Someone should sue him for adding his stupidity to the world!

     

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    identicon
    PGLAWCOLO, Jul 25th, 2012 @ 12:57pm

    Suing Warner Brothers and the movie theater

    Lawsuits are often brought to intimidate, pressure, and extract settlements - and to get publicity so more clients will seek out the lawyer low enough to seek to turn tragedies into financial windfalls. Donald Nardel claims on his website that he loves the law. Actually, he loves what he can do with the law. Which is make a lot of money bullying people with the law. His is a nasty profession.

    It does not matter that this lawsuit and many such lawsuits have no merit, if the lawyer can extract a nice settlement. A first year law student learns that to prove negligence, you have to show - among other things - that the defendant had a duty to the plaintiff, and that the injury to the plaintiff was reasonably foreseeable. It should be hard to convince any jury that this tragedy was reasonably foreseeable, and that the movie theater or Warner Brothers had a duty to protect moviegoers against such acts of a crazed individual, since such a mass attack in a movie theater was unprecedented, and since we have never held authors of stories responsible for unstable people trying to reenact those stories.
    Imagine if this lawsuit did succeed - even the publisher and the author of an accurate historical account of battle, could be held responsible when some lunatic/murderer seeks to reenact the battle at the Alamo.

     

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    identicon
    Will, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 7:40pm

    Torrence should be held tesponsible

    This little scumbag ‘Torrence’ should be held responsible for the shootings. After all, if he hadn’t gone there in the first place there wouldn’t have been any problems. That make as much sense doesn’t it, you little scumbag, jr!

     

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    identicon
    Will, Jul 26th, 2012 @ 7:40pm

    Torrence should be held responsible

    This little scumbag ‘Torrence’ should be held responsible for the shootings. After all, if he hadn’t gone there in the first place there wouldn’t have been any problems. That make as much sense doesn’t it, you little scumbag, jr!

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Fans-of-Bindass-Enthusiasm, Sep 17th, 2012 @ 1:15am

    Fans-of-Bindass-Enthusiasm

    Lovely!!The thoughts you express are really awesome. Hope you will write some more posts. I got good info from your blog and saved it as a favorite,

    Regards:-
    Fans-of-Bindass-Enthusiasm

     

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    angerfist6201 (profile), Dec 6th, 2012 @ 6:18am

    This is why we need tort reform

    It will probably never happen because Congress doesn't do anything logical, but we should abolish contingency lawsuits and make the losing party pay both sides attorney's fees.

    Lawsuit awards should be limited to 10 times the plaintiff's annual income which should be based on their tax return.

    This guy suing the studio and theater are frivolous. This was the first showing of the movie. He was an impatient person who decided to go to a midnight (approx) showing of the movie. How did the plaintiff or the criminal know that the movie was too violent if they had not seen the movie yet? Ever see the Saw series or Texas Chainsaw Massacre? Violent movies are NOT to blame.

    He does have a valid case against Dr. Lynne Fenton and the board that governs whether the lunatic should have been reported to police.

    The 2nd amendment grants the right to bear arms to regulated militias, period. People should not have guns. All the loonies who say that there is more crime when people don't have guns is wrong. Guns make it easier to kill.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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