A customer was murdered in her house by a Spectrum Cable Guy. Charter has to pay an astounding $1.1 billion

A customer was murdered in her house by a Spectrum Cable Guy. Charter has to pay an astounding $1.1  ...

Charter Communications made headlines this week when they were awarded $7 billion in punitive damages and more than $337 million in compensatory damages in a case in which one of their employees murdered a customer.

A judge has reduced the amount of damages Charter will pay to $1.1 billion, which is still a ridiculous amount, but when you read the case, everything makes sense.

Here's what you should know if you're wondering how an employee may be held accountable for a crime in this way.

Betty Thomas, an 83-year-old woman, was murdered in her home by a Spectrum cable technician. According to a Charter complaint, Roy Holden was answering a service call.

He used his company key card to get his Spectrum van the next day. When he arrived at Thomas' residence, he robbed and murdered her. After the crime was finished, he went on a spending binge with her cards.

The family was convinced Charter had a significant role to play in the tragic incident.

The murderer, Mr Holden, had expressed financial difficulties to his company and even cried during a meeting with his supervisor, according to their testimony and evidence presented during the trial.

Betty Thomas was caught scamming elderly female customers and taking their credit cards days after the meeting.

The family of the victims accused Charter of failing to conduct thorough examinations on Holden's employment history, not taking steps after his behavior, which included theft, and of forging a "document to force the case into a closed-door arbitration where the conclusions would have been secret and damages for the murder would have been limited to the amount of Ms. Thomas's final bill."

Charter was found guilty of both gross negligence and forgery by the jury, and the company was facing more than $7 billion in punitive damages.

Judge Ruan Renteria reduced the damages to a little over $1 billion on September 19.

Charter intends to appeal the decision, according to ArsTechnica, who covered the story in-depth as it developed.

The company told the outlet that their employee's "crime was not foreseeable," as he had completed more than 1,000 service calls without complaints.

It's a sad story that should make everyone a little more aware of what might happen if you allow strangers in your house – even the cable guy.

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