Charter cable must pay $7 billion for woman killed by cable repairman

A Texas jury has ordered Charter Communications to pay $7 billion in punitive damages to the family of an 83-year-old grandmother robbed and murdered by a cable repairman who arrived in the company’s van while off the clock.

Charter, which owns Spectrum, was also deemed responsible last month for $337.5 million in compensatory damages for the December 2019 murder of Betty Jo McClain Thomas.

Negligence cases like Thomas’ rarely go to trial, and usually settle out of court – and out of the public eye – without the company admitting to wrongdoing. That’s often been true even when consumers were assaulted, tortured, raped or murdered.

In a written statement this week from Charter spokesman Rich Ruggiero, the company said it would appeal the verdict: “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.”

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