We previously reported on the $7 billion punitive damages award against Charter Communications (dba Spectrum) in Texas state court. The plaintiffs are the family members of an 83-year-old woman who was stabbed to death by a Spectrum employee while was off duty. This Reuters story explains the plaintiffs’ theory: a spectrum technician went back to the victim’s house the day after he visited for a service call, using a company vehicle both times, and stabbed her after she found him stealing credit cards from her wallet. The plaintiffs claimed Charter was responsible for the actions of its employee during off-duty hours because the company ignored “red flags” about him, including pleas to upper management about his severe financial distress.
On Monday the trial court entered judgment for $337.5 million in compensatory damages and $750 million in punitive damages. The judgment states that the plaintiffs agreed to a voluntary reduction of the punitive damages from $7 billion to $750 billion. Reuters reports that Charter plans to appeal.