Law360 is reporting that a jury in Texas has awarded $7B billion in punitive damages against Charter Communications, which does business as Spectrum.
The plaintiffs are family members of an 83-year-old woman who was stabbed to death by a Spectrum employee. The jury awarded 10 percent fault to the attacker and 90 percent fault to Spectrum. The Law360 article doesn’t explain the plaintiffs’ rationale for holding Spectrum more responsible than the assailant.
Texas has a statutory cap on punitive damages but the cap does not apply when the defendant’s conduct falls within a list of enumerated felonies. One of listed felonies is forgery. The jury in this case found that Spectrum intentionally forged an arbitration agreement, and the plaintiffs are relying on that finding to argue that the cap doesn’t apply.