DENVER — A judge says lawsuits can move forward against the owner of the Aurora movie theater where a 2012 attack left 12 people dead and 70 others injured.

The Denver Post reports (http://dpo.st/XqbCjb ) U.S. District Judge R. Brooke Jackson ruled Friday that Cinemark could have predicted movie patrons might be targeted for an attack, noting "the grim history of mass shootings and mass killings that have occurred in more recent times."

Jackson wrote that although theaters had until then avoided a mass shooting, moviegoers are "perhaps even more than students in a school or shoppers in a mall, 'sitting ducks.'"

The ruling, which allows the 20 lawsuits to advance, didn't decide if Cinemark did enough to try to prevent the shooting. Cinemark didn't immediately return a phone message left by The Associated Press on Saturday.