In a rare such verdict, the nation’s second-largest cable company was found responsible for a robbery and murder committed by a man who worked as an installer for the company. The company was found to be 90% liable, to the tune of approximately $7 billion.
The killing took place in December 2019, when Charter Spectrum employee Roy Holden drove to the home of an eight- to three-year-old client in his company’s truck the day after receiving a service call. When the woman caught Holden stealing her credit cards, he fatally stabbed her. Holden pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison.
The company, along with Holden himself, was sued by the woman’s family. According to a press release from Hamilton Wingo, the plaintiffs’ law firm, Charter Spectrum, ignored the killer’s warnings that he was troubled and even forged documents. Additionally, the family later received an invoice for the services rendered by the company, during the service call that resulted in the murder.
According to Law & Crime, the $7 billion represents about 8% of the company’s current market capitalization. The company had been ordered to pay $337.5 million in compensatory damages in June.
“This was a shocking betrayal of faith by a company that sends workers to millions of homes each year,” Dallas-based Hamilton Wingo attorney Chris Hamilton said in the statement. who argued the case in court. “The jury in this case was thoughtful and attentive to the evidence. This verdict rightly 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 Spectrum was too likely to prevent this tragedy, and the company showed complete disregard for the safety of its customers. Worse still, the lawsuit reveals how Charter Spectrum customers remain today vulnerable at the hands of a company that does not appear to care about public safety,” attorney Ray Khirallah, also of that company, said in the statement. “This verdict accurately reflects the breadth of evidence against Charter Spectrum and the dangerous nature of gross misconduct and violations of company law.”
Charter sent a statement to Gizmodo, disagreeing with the verdict.
“We are committed to the safety of all of our clients and have taken appropriate steps, including a thorough pre-hire criminal background check which revealed no arrests, convictions or other criminal behavior,” the official said. spokesperson. “Furthermore, nothing in Mr. Holden’s performance after he was hired suggests that he was capable of the crime he committed, including over 1,000 service calls completed without any customer complaints about his behavior.”
Stephen Silver, technology editor for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who also contributes to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and connect today. Co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.