Charter Communications ordered to pay family $1.1 billion over murdered relative

Nearly three years ago, a Texas family was awarded $1.14 billion in damages for the stabbing death of their elderly mother and grandmother.

Dallas County Judge Juan Renteria order The charter paid to the family of Betty Jo McClain Thomas in the final judgment released on Monday. The settlement came after former Spectrum cable technician Roy Holden Jr. pleaded guilty to murdering Thomas, 83, at his home in December 2019.

The Texas jury also found that Charter “knowingly and knowingly committed forgery with intent to defraud or harm” the plaintiff by forging his signature on a mandatory arbitration agreement after Thomas was already dead.

The prize will be split between Thomas’ grandson William Goff and her children Charles Thomas, Charlotte Glover, Cheryl Goff and Cindy Ringless.

“We are grateful that, after careful consideration and review of the legal and trial records, the court issued a judgment ordering Charter to pay the victim’s family more than $1 billion in total damages,” said Chris Hamilton of Hamilton Wingo, the family’s attorney. .in a statement on the law firm’s website.

Judge Renteria initially awarded Thomas’ family more than $7 billion in damages, but the family agreed to reduce that amount to $1.14 billion.

Spending heavily after stabbing

Thomas’ family submitted a litigation Oppose Charter Communications, which owns Spectrum, in 2020. The lawsuit alleges that Charter sent Holden to Thomas’ home to resolve issues with her Spectrum service. When Thomas called Charter the next day for more repairs, Holden, who was off work, arrived in a Spectrum van, stabbed Thomas repeatedly, then stole her credit card before going on a spending spree, the lawsuit says. .

Holden pleaded guilty at the Thomas family’s trial last year and is currently serving a life sentence.

Thomas’ family argued in court earlier this year that Charter had not properly screened Houghton before hiring him, who was going through a divorce, had frequent insomnia and crying and was financially unstable while Charter was working. The jury sided with Thomas’ family.

Charter plans to appeal the decision, the company said in a statement to CBS MoneyWatch. The Connecticut-based cable provider said that while it respected the jury’s decision, “responsibility for this horrific act rests entirely with Mr. Holden, who was not on duty, and we are grateful that he has spent the rest of his life in prison.”

Charter said it took all necessary steps to vet Holden before hiring him, “including a thorough pre-employment criminal background check – which showed no arrests, convictions or other criminal conduct.” “Mr Holden His post-employment performance showed no evidence of his ability to commit the crimes he committed, including completing more than 1,000 service calls and zero customer complaints about his conduct,” Chater said.

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