Cable Company Ordered To Pay Victim's Family $7 Billion After Worker Killed Her In Her Home
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Featured Image Credit: Police handout/Fox 13 News Tampa Bay
A cable company has been ordered to pay out more than $7 billion (£5.6b) to the family of a woman who was killed by one of its employees.
In December 2019, Roy Holden Jr carried out some work for Spectrum Cable at the home of 83-year-old Betty Thomas, in Irving, Texas.
The next day, while off duty, he returned and stabbed her to death.
He then stole her credit card and went shopping before he was apprehended by police.
Holden pleaded guilty to murder and is currently serving a life sentence.
This week, a Dallas County jury found Spectrum Cable or Charter Communications to have 90 percent of the blame for civil liabilities.
The jury awarded the family $7 billion (£5.6b) in punitive damages after already awarding them $357 million (£2.9m) in compensatory damages last month.
Speaking after the trial, Thomas’ family’s lawyer, Chris Hamilton, said in a statement: “This was a shocking breach of faith by a company that sends workers inside millions of homes every year.
“This verdict justly reflects the extensive evidence regarding the nature of the harm caused by Charter Spectrum’s gross negligence and reckless misconduct.
“For the safety of the American public, we can only hope that Charter Spectrum and its shareholders are listening.”
Charter has said it plans to appeal the verdict, saying all the blame for the killing lies with Holden.
In a statement the company said: “Our hearts go out to Mrs. Thomas’ family in the wake of this senseless and tragic crime.
“The responsibility for this horrible act rests solely with Mr. Holden, who was not on duty, and we are grateful he is in prison for life.
“While we respect the jury and the justice system, we strongly disagree with the verdict.”
The company claims the murder was ‘not foreseeable’ and that relevant background checks were made.
A news release from the company read: “The law in Texas and the facts presented at trial clearly show this crime was not foreseeable — and the plaintiffs’ claims of wrongdoing by Charter are categorically false.
“We are committed to the safety of all our customers and took the necessary steps, including a thorough pre-employment criminal background check — 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.”
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