Selinsky V. Mmt Lapagava, Llc Et Al

On January 26, 2024, the Colorado jury delivered the verdict in favor of Plaintiff Catherine A. Selinsky against Defendants MMT Lapagava, LLC (“Movie Tavern”), At Seven Hills Aurora Co, LLC, and ArciTerra Companies, LLC in a personal injury lawsuit arising out of defective premises at the movie theatre.

Case Background

The present defective premises lawsuit was filed on May 5, 2020, by the Plaintiff in the United States District Court, Colorado (Denver) [Case number: 1:21cv1375]. Judge Regina M. Rodriguez presided over this case.


The Plaintiff was born with a medical condition called osteogenesis imperfect. It is a genetic disorder that causes bones to break easily and deformities. On December 21, 2019, she decided to see a movie before leaving town for the holidays. She purchased a $11.32 ticket on Fandango for “Richard Jewell” showing at Movie Tavern that night. It was her first time at Movie Tavern.

Around 6:30 PM, she left home and stopped at Starbucks for snacks. By 7:00 PM, she parked in a handicapped spot southeast of the Theater’s Property. She had a “qualified disability” under the American Disability Act (ADA) and needed accessible entry, but poor lighting and signage made finding the wheelchair ramp difficult. She finally spotted it when a passing car’s headlights illuminated it and she ascended the unpainted ramp without any detectable warnings.

Inside, she showed her ticket on her phone and headed to her seat. After the movie ended at 9:30 PM, she followed other patrons toward the Theater’s exit, with TVs to her right and poles to her left. She saw patrons leaving through doors on the south side but was unaware of doors to her left (where she entered) due to a divider.

Exiting through the south doors, she faced darkness and a poorly lit exterior. There were no signs or clear path to the ramp which was obstructed by a stone pillar and lacked a minimum turning clearance for her wheelchair. The Property didn’t have continuous accessible routes, curb ramps, or signs for accessible entrances.

In her search for the ramp, she inadvertently fell off an unseen curb, still secured in her wheelchair. She fell forward, injuring her face, shoulders, arms, and legs on the pavement.


The Defendants’ actions or inactions resulted in Plaintiff fracturing five bones and undergoing two surgeries. She spent eighty-three consecutive days in hospitals and a long-term care facility. She suffered from physical disfigurement,


The Plaintiff sought judgment against the Defendants, jointly and severally. She sought compensation for her injuries, damages, and losses, including economic and non-economic damages and damages related to physical impairment, with pre- and post-judgment interest.

She also requested a declaration that the Theater owned, operated, and controlled by Defendants violated the ADA. Additionally, she asked for a court order mandating modifications to the Theater for full accessibility under Title III of the ADA and a directive for Defendants to assess and revise their policies, practices, and procedures regarding persons with disabilities, with adequate time for corrective actions at the Theater. Finally, she prayed for an award of reasonable attorneys’ fees, costs, and expenses incurred by Plaintiff in the lawsuit; and any other relief deemed necessary and just by the Court.

Key Arguments and Proceedings

Legal Representation

  • Counsel for Defendants: MMT Lapagava, LLC was represented by John Henry Stevens, IV, and Michael Caleb Meyer from Messner Reeves LLP. At Seven Hills Aurora Co, LLC, and ArciTerra Companies, LLC were represented by Adam Joseph Goldstein and E. Catlynne Shadakofsky from White and Steele, P.C.


Plaintiff’s first claim alleged violations of Colorado’s Premises Liability Act against all Defendants. Plaintiff had reasserted previous claims, emphasizing the Defendants’ role as landowners responsible for the Theater and Property conditions on December 21, 2019. As an invitee, Plaintiff had relied on Defendants’ representations about public access. She had encountered multiple hazards on the Property, including inadequate lighting, unpainted curbs and ramps, lack of signage, and obstructions hindering accessibility. Defendants had been aware or should have been aware of these hazards but had failed to mitigate them, jointly and severally causing Plaintiff substantial injuries and losses.

In the second claim, Plaintiff reiterated previous assertions and charged Defendants with negligence. They had owed Plaintiff a duty to ensure safety by maintaining safe and defect-free premises. Defendants’ failure to address these issues had constituted negligence and a concerted effort to create hazardous conditions, resulting in Plaintiff’s damages.

The third claim contended Defendants had violated the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). Enacted in 1990, the ADA mandated accessibility standards for public accommodations, including the Theater. Plaintiff, who had qualified as disabled under the ADA, had encountered numerous barriers preventing full access to facilities.


Defendants had denied Plaintiff’s allegations of wrongdoing and defective premises and had rejected her claim for the relief sought. They had asserted various affirmative defenses, including challenging the legal sufficiency of parts of Plaintiff’s complaint, disavowing responsibility for damages caused by third parties beyond their control, and denying liability for damages potentially influenced by pre-existing conditions or subsequent events. Defendants argued that Plaintiff’s damages might have been exaggerated, speculative, or unrelated to their conduct. They also contended that any negligence on Plaintiff’s part and the involvement of other parties could have diminished or negated their liability. Additionally, Defendants had reserved the right to adjust their defenses based on further investigation and discovery. Ultimately, they requested the court to dismiss the case with prejudice. They also requested to affirm the judgment in their favor and seek reimbursement for legal expenses and other costs incurred.

Expert Testimony

The Plaintiff presented testimonies from the following expert witnesses to strengthen her argument: T. Scott Nunnery who was the Plaintiff’s PLA and ADA expert, Dr. David L. Reinhard, M.D., the Plaintiff’s PMR expert, Maggie Allison, P.E., a civil engineering expert, and Tiffany Koerner, P.E., a electrical engineer expert

Jury Verdict

On January 26, 2024, the Colorado jury found that Plaintiff had suffered injuries and losses as a result of Defendant’s negligence and failure to correct the defective premises. The jury also found that Plaintiff had been negligent too, thereby contributing to her injuries and losses.

The jury awarded $448, 519.10 as non-economic damages and $448, 519.10 as economic damages. Additionally, $2,852,961.80 as compensation for physical impairment or disfigurement. The total verdict awarded was $3,749,000.

The jury attributed 52% of the fault to Defendant Movie Tavern, 27% to Defendant Owner and Manager, and 21% to Plaintiff Catherine.