$7 Billion Dollar Payout from Lawsuit?

Cable company ordered to pay $7 billion to family of Texas woman murdered by repairman (msn.com)

I’m all for holding people and businesses accountable, but $7 billion for a payout seems, umm, exorbitant. Thoughts?

This also brings up a potential issue of companies being held legally responsible for employees’ criminal actions… If at all, to what extent should companies be held responsible for what their employees do?

After reading that article, it’s very hard to feel any sympathy for that company. It’s not just about their employee, who they failed to vet properly, but that they tried to cover things up afterward.

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I don’t think the family will ever get close to 7 billion dollars.

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Do you think the entire company got on board and tried to cover it up, or do you think it may have been the acts of a select few that chose to do this?

If there is evidence that there were instructions to cover it up, coming from the top of the chain - I’d be inclined to say it is appropriate. But if this was, say, his manager who pulled strings, do you think $7b is appropriate?

I should clarify that I don’t sympathize with the company, I’m more curious if $7b is warranted.

Given the type of fabrications- changing billing documents; and the reason- to force arbitration I’d strongly lean toward executive planning and participation in the cover up.

My wife was an ops manager at a large international bpoc and they actually used to discuss these types of things (legal issues, employee background thresholds, loss mitigation,etc.) in conference calls.

Then, given the responsibility of the company -the sky is the limit in a jury decision on a civil case, and with evidence of them having played dirty, that can often result in triple damages.

So it may have originally been 2.X billion, but was trippled due to their own actions.

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Lmao they won’t pay even a fraction of this.

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Doesn’t the judge have to approve that number though? I don’t think that has been done yet, and I think there are guidelines they follow for payouts?

If I were to guess, the judge will lower the amount the jury suggested by a lot.

I think they will, but it will be a small fraction. Like in the 0.1-10% range. I tend to think closer to the 0.1% than the 10%.

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I am general counsel at one of the largest trucking companies in the US. These calls and talks definitely go on weekly. Safety and risk management is my arm of the company I work daily with.

Nuclear verdicts (anything over 10M) on trucking companies have become increasingly common lately, but they are hardly ever paid in their full amount.

Insurance plays a large role on what is actually paid out.

For instance we had a recent award against us for 10M, we ended up pay 3.5M. 2 million came from us and 1.5M came from our insurance.

The MOST we have ever paid out on a wrongful death suit where we were at fault / negligent is 17M.

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If she gets over 15-20M for this, I will be surprised. Not being mean, but lives just simply are not worth that much from a purely numbers standpoint.

The times you see MUCH higher awards are when a person with a lucrative job gets killed young and gets paid out for future earnings loss over the rest of their lifetime.

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Thats what its for, right?!?

And the bigger the claim, the longer the battle.

Once upon a time I had a girlfriend who died from medical malpractice. Her family sued all parties involved, which took about 10 years all told. It started out at a pretty big number (about 50mil.) and ended up at a modest but significant 5.X mil.

I don’t think it matters. They hired an employee who, if the article is accurate, should not have been hired. If other people working there decided to forge documents to cover the company’s ass, whether or not the CEO knew about it, it’s a sign that there is something wrong with that business. Regardless, people high up would have been aware since lawyers were involved. Which brings into question how dumb are these people to forge documents but not notice the copyright dates were two years after they would have been originally signed.

I don’t know if you can put a price on a human life, I think it’s wrong that you can’t get pain and suffering if someone kills your pet, but as has been said already, they won’t be paying that much.

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I dunno. Never made it that far.

All of my legal knowledge has been gotten very much like my medical knowledge- Trial & Error.

(Haha! See what I did there?)

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No, the judge has nothing to do with jury monetary awards. If they are outlandish or nuclear, they are usually appealed.

Medical malpractice is an entirely different animal and varies by state. In an effort to protect doctors, most states have very strict caps on damages and very strict rules to assert a med mal case. Like TN REQUIRES an expert witness, which has to be another physician, which is very hard and expensive to get.

The answer really depends on the substantive law of the state. There are economic, non-economic, and punitive damages. Economic damages and non-economic damages are described by statute. They are both “compensatory.” The person suing for those damages take the money by receiving a judgment from the court, even in jury cases.

Punitive damages very greatly from state to state on their statutory rules. In some states like Oregon you must have permission from the court before punitive damages can even be alleged, always by motion. For punitive damages only, the state is entitled to a large portion of the punitive damages awarded in Oregon. Some states they go into a state fund for certain non-profit or legal related offerings.

A lot of the questions hinge on the old legal cliche of, “it depends”.

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