Constitution Communications ordered to pay household $1.1 billion over murdered relative

A Texas household has been awarded $1.14 billion in damages towards Constitution Communications in a lawsuit over the deadly stabbing of their aged mom and grandmother almost three years in the past. 

Dallas County Decide Juan Renteria ordered Constitution to pay the household of Betty Jo McClain Thomas in a remaining judgment launched Monday. The settlement comes after former Spectrum cable technician Roy Holden Jr. admitted to murdering the 83-year-old Thomas in her house in December 2019. 

A Texas jury additionally discovered that Constitution “knowingly and deliberately dedicated forgery with the intent to defraud or hurt” the plaintiffs by faking Thomas’ signature on a compelled arbitration settlement after she had already died. 

The award will likely be break up amongst Thomas’ grandson William Goff and her youngsters Charles Thomas, Charlotte Glover, Cheryl Goff and Cindy Ringless. 

“We’re grateful that, after cautious consideration and evaluation of the regulation and trial document, the courtroom entered judgment ordering Constitution to pay greater than $1 billion in whole damages to the sufferer’s household,” the household’s lawyer, Chris Hamilton of Hamilton Wingo, mentioned in a statement on the regulation agency’s web site. 

Decide Renteria initially awarded Thomas’ household greater than $7 billion in damages, however the household agreed to cut back that quantity to $1.14 billion. 

Spending spree after stabbing

Thomas’ household filed a lawsuit towards Constitution Communications, which owns Spectrum, in 2020. The swimsuit claimed Constitution despatched Holden to Thomas’ house to repair an issue together with her Spectrum service. When Thomas known as Constitution the following day for extra repairs, Holden, who was off-duty, arrived in a Spectrum firm van, stabbed Thomas repeatedly after which stole her bank cards earlier than occurring a spending spree, the lawsuit alleged.

Holden pleaded responsible throughout his trial towards Thomas’ household final 12 months and is serving a life sentence in jail. 

Thomas’ household argued in courtroom earlier this 12 months that Constitution did not correctly display screen Holden earlier than hiring him and that Holden was going by means of a divorce, skilled frequent insomnia and crying spells, and was financially unstable whereas working for Constitution. The jury sided with Thomas’ household. 

Constitution plans to enchantment the choice, the corporate mentioned in a press release to CBS MoneyWatch. The Connecticut-based cable supplier mentioned that whereas it respects the jury’s resolution, “the accountability for this horrible act rests solely with Mr. Holden, who was not on obligation, and we’re grateful he’s in jail for all times.”

Constitution mentioned it took all needed steps to vet Holden earlier than his rent, “together with an intensive pre-employment felony background verify — which confirmed no arrests, convictions or different felony habits.” There was no proof from “Mr. Holden’s efficiency after he was employed that recommended he was able to the crime he dedicated, together with greater than 1,000 accomplished service calls with zero buyer complaints about his habits,” Constitution mentioned. 

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