A Texas jury has slapped Charter Communications with a whopping $7 billion wrongful death verdict in a civil case involving the 2019 in-home robbery and murder of a 83-year-old woman by a Spectrum cable technician. The penalty comes on top of $375 million in compensatory damages awarded to the woman’s family, citing “gross negligence” on behalf of Charter.
Former Spectrum field technician Roy Holden Jr. reportedly pleaded guilty to the crime in 2021 and was sentenced to life in prison.
Lawyers for the victim’s family claimed that Spectrum allegedly got rid of an employee background check procedure after acquiring Time Warner Cable in 2016.
Charter, which is appealing the verdict, denies ending employee background checks, saying it is “committed to the safety of all our customers.”
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The cabler, which ended the most recent fiscal period with more than 30 million video and broadband subscribers, said it took the necessary pre-employment steps, including a thorough pre-employment criminal background check on Holden, which showed no arrests, convictions or other criminal behavior.
“Nor did anything in Mr. Holden’s performance after he was hired suggest he was capable of the crime he committed, including more than 1,000 completed service calls with zero customer complaints about his behavior,” Charter said in a statement.
Legal observers doubt the financial judgments will stand and will be reduced on appeal or by the trial judge.