Recently, a Texas jury ordered Charter Communications, to pay seven billion dollars in punitive damages to the family of a murdered cable customer. Betty Jo McClain Thomas was 83 and living in Irvine, Texas when an off-the-clock cable repair man showed up at her house in his company truck in 2019 and took her life. Roy James Holden, the cable company’s technician plead guilty to the murder and was sentenced to life in prison.
On December 11, 2019, Holden was scheduled to work on Ms. Thomas’ house, according to police reports. Unfortunately, he showed up the next day and murdered Ms. Thomas. A company spokesman for Charter claims that they conducted a “thorough pre-employment criminal background check, which showed no arrest, convictions or other criminal behavior”. However, court records indicate that Holden racked up disciplinary actions, such as taking pictures of driver’s licenses and credit cards of customers.
Charter attempted to force the family into arbitration by claiming an arbitration clause was agreed to within a work order, however, the arbitration clause was supposedly signed the day Ms. Thomas was killed.
Typically, egregious acts such as this are settled out of court, as most corporations wish to avoid the negative press. However, in this case, the family stated that they did not want it swept under the rug. It is unclear what changes Charter will make regarding their hiring process.
If you or someone you know has suffered injuries or the loss of a family member due to the negligent hiring of a company, contact an attorney at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz, & Stogner by calling 713-222-7211 or toll-free at 1-800-594-4884.