Charter Communications faces $7 billion in punitive damages and $375 million in other damages after one of its employees killed a customer.
Charter Communications isn’t particularly well-known around here, despite being a huge company with $51.68 billion in commercial sales last year. The telecommunications and mass media company operating in the US domestic market offers services under the name Spectrum. With more than 26 million customers in 41 states, it is the second-largest cable provider in the United States by subscribers, just behind Comcast, and the third-largest pay-TV provider behind Comcast and AT&T. In addition, Charter is the fifth largest telephone provider based on the number of residential lines. Well, this giant company failed to check the employment history of its employee, Roy James Holden Jr., who stabbed 83-year-old Betty Jo McClain Thomas to death. He then destroyed evidence and falsified documents to avoid prosecution. Holden visited Thomas’s house as a cable repairman to fix his fax machine. He learned that the woman had ongoing problems with the service. The next day, the man returned to the woman’s house in a company van, where he tried to steal her credit cards. But he failed and then murdered the woman and then started spending with her cards. Holden pleaded guilty to murder in 2019 and was sentenced to life in prison. However, a civil lawsuit against Charter revealed that Holden lied about his work history, but the company never verified the details. If he had, he could have been disqualified for lying in a job application. After being hired, Holden came to management several times about his personal problems and said that at one point he thought he was a player for the Dallas Cowboys. He used to sleep in Spectrum’s van at night. Attorneys representing Thomas’ family presented evidence that Charter Spectrum technicians were responsible for more than 2,500 thefts against customers over several years before the murder, as well as beatings, sexual assault and other violent crimes. Charter refused to investigate the thefts and did not report them to the police. Following the murder, Charter destroyed video surveillance and tracking information on Holden. The company was found guilty of contempt of court by failing to produce other documents. When the lawsuit began, Charter tried to force the case into arbitration by using falsified terms of service documents allegedly signed by Thomas. A year after his death, the company sent him an overdue bill for $439.88. This included a $58.94 fee for visiting Roy James Holden. “This verdict fairly reflects the extensive evidence regarding the nature of the harm caused by Charter Spectrum’s gross negligence and reckless misconduct,” one of the family’s litigation attorneys, Chris Hamilton, said in a statement. Charter said it “strongly disagrees with the ruling and will appeal”. The gruesome crime calls to mind the 1996 case of a Comcast mechanic who killed an Arkansas woman. The cable technician raped Natasha Saine at knifepoint and then tried to kill her with a flamethrower. He then tied her hands and feet, put her in a bathtub full of water and cut her throat. He then threw a lamp into the tub to electrocute him and held his head under the water. When she still wasn’t dead, he forced her into a closet and set fire to her apartment. Remarkably, Saine survived. She then sued Comcast for negligent hiring and supervision, citing testimony from a customer who complained about inappropriate sexual comments to the company but was ignored. The case was eventually dismissed, but Comcast found itself in court again in 2013 when one of their employees murdered a customer while being investigated for another murder.Hardware, software, tests, interesting and colorful news from the world of IT by clicking here!