Cable charter must pay $7 billion for woman killed by cable repairman

Betty Jo McClain Thomas, 83, of Irving, TX, was murdered by a Charter cable repairman who showed up at her house in the company van when he was not supposed to be working.

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 he was not on time.

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

Negligence cases like Thomas’s rarely go to trial and are usually settled out of court — and out of public view — without the company admitting wrongdoing. This is often true even when consumers have been assaulted, tortured, raped or murdered.

In a written statement this week from Charter spokesman Rich Ruggiero, the company said it would appeal the verdict: “Texas law and the facts presented at trial clearly show that this crime was not foreseeable – and the plaintiffs’ allegations of Charter’s wrongdoing are flatly false.

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