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Jury sends message to Charter with $7 billion verdict over murder of customer

A parked van used by a Spectrum cable technician. The van has the Spectrum logo on its side and a ladder stowed on the roof.

Enlarge / Charter Spectrum cable van in West Lake Hills, Texas, in April 2019. (credit: Getty Images | Tony Webster)

A Texas jury has ordered Charter Communications to pay $7 billion in punitive damages to the family of an 83-year-old woman murdered in her home by a Spectrum cable technician. The Dallas County Court jury returned the $7 billion verdict on Tuesday after previously finding Charter liable for $337.5 million in compensatory damages.

The damages could be reduced by a judge. Charter says it shouldn’t be held liable for the murder and that it plans to appeal. The jury, which found in the earlier phase of the case that Charter’s negligence was a major cause of the death, reportedly reached the $7 billion verdict after less than two hours of deliberation.

“This was a shocking breach of faith by a company that sends workers inside millions of homes every year,” one of the family’s lawyers, Chris Hamilton, said in a press release Tuesday. “The jury in this case was thoughtful and attentive to the evidence. This verdict justly reflects the extensive evidence regarding the nature of the harm caused by Charter Spectrum’s gross negligence and reckless misconduct.”

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