Why Were Aurora Shooting Survivors Ordered to Pay $700,000 in Court Costs?

Don Emmert/Getty Images
Don Emmert/Getty Images

Last year, movie theater chain Cinemark drew a series of unfortunate headlines for attempting to hold victims of the July 20, 2012 shooting in Aurora, Colorado, liable for court costs. The 15 plaintiffs, who had pursued legal action against Cinemark for what they argued was insufficient security to stop shooter James Holmes—who killed 12 and wounded 70 during a screening of The Dark Knight Rises—lost and were subsequently responsible for $699,000 in attorney fees for the defendants in the state case.

So did Cinemark actually collect on what would have been a rather morbid debt?

They didn’t. Shortly after being vilified in the media, Cinemark agreed to drop its pursuit of court costs if the remaining plaintiffs dropped any future appeals. An unnamed source told the Los Angeles Times that the chain never intended to pursue collection, but it’s unknown what their motivation was in circulating a bill of costs in that amount.

Legally, it was a legitimate claim. After a Colorado state jury ruled on May 19, 2016 that Cinemark could not have foreseen the deadly intentions of Holmes, the company was entitled to seek remuneration for its legal fees under state law. (In a separate, federal case, a judge used the state decision as cause to rule in Cinemark’s favor.) The company announced on September 13, 2016 that it had come to an agreement with the opposing parties to drop the case, ending any potential of recovering those costs.

A memorial for those killed and injured in the attack is being planned for a space across the street from the theater. The project is still roughly $90,000 short of its $200,000 goal. Donations are being accepted at 7-20memorial.org.

An Avocado Shortage Has Triggered a Fruit Crime Wave in New Zealand


In New Zealand, getting started as an avocado grower is no easy task right now. That’s because, according to Stuff.co.nz and The Takeout, the country’s nurseries are currently experiencing a shortage of avocado saplings due to high demand.

Avocado prices are especially high in New Zealand, in part because of the country’s strict import rules. New Zealand doesn’t import avocados, and homegrown harvests have produced low yields in the past two years. Prices for the fruit have spiked, and the average avocado goes for about $3.30 according to The New York Times.

Some New Zealanders have responded to the shortage by trying to get into the avocado cultivation game themselves, but the rush to buy avocado saplings has led to a shortage for wholesalers and nurseries. Several nursery owners Stuff.co.nz spoke to currently have a large backlog of orders they haven’t yet filled. If you want a sapling this year, you’d better get in line. Some nurseries ran out as early as April, and more saplings might not come into stock until late September.

Some opportunistic New Zealanders have taken a different tack to get their avocado fix. There has been a rash of fruit theft from avocado orchards, and thieves are taking more than just one or two avocados. One grower reported losing 70 percent of his harvest to theft in July, costing him an estimated $100,000.

People looking to plant avocado trees shouldn’t be in too much of a hurry to get their hands on saplings, though. Winter in New Zealand isn’t yet over, and if you’re going to plant a new tree, you should probably wait until spring, anyway. And growing avocados isn’t an instant gratification hobby. Newly planted avocado trees don’t bear fruit for their first few years. That baby tree might take as long as four years to start producing guacamole ingredients.

[h/t The Takeout]

Nearly $100,000 in Instant Ramen Was Stolen in Georgia Noodle Heist


It's not easy to steal a small fortune when your target is instant ramen, but a team of thieves in Georgia managed to do just that a few weeks back. As The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports, the criminals made off with a trailer containing nearly $100,000 worth of noodles, and the local police force is still working to track down the perpetrators.

The heist occurred outside a Chevron gas station in Fayetteville, Georgia some time between July 25 and August 1, 2018. The 53-foot trailer parked in the area contained a large shipment of ramen, which the truck's driver estimates was worth about $98,000. Depending on the brand, that means the convenience food bandits stole anywhere between 200,000 and 500,000 noodle packs.

Some outlets have connected the truck-jacking to a recent string of vehicle-related robberies, but the Fayette County Sheriff's Office told the AJC such reports are inaccurate. Any potential suspects in the case have yet to be revealed.

The outlaws join the list of thieves who have stolen food items in bulk. Some of the most ambitious food heists in the past have centered on 11,000 pounds of Nutella, $75,000 worth of soup, and 6000 cheesecakes.

[h/t The Atlanta Journal-Constitution]