Comcast, Vendor In Negligence Suit

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Comcast and its subcontractor, Premier Cable Communications, should have been aware they were sending a dangerous employee into the field, according to a lawsuit filed March 6 in Chicago over alleged murders by a technician employed by Premier.

The technician, Anthony Triplett, 25, is in Cook County jail awaiting trial. Investigators allege that he killed two subscribers, Janice Ordidge on Aug. 12, 2006, and Urszula Sakowska on Dec. 8.

The lawsuit was filed in Cook County Circuit Court by Grzegory Magiera, the fiancée of the second victim. Magiera is the administrator of Sakowska's estate, acting for the victim's parents and two sisters, who live in Poland.

The suit alleges that Comcast, several of its regional business entities and Premier were negligent in their supervision of Triplett. The complaint also claims Triplett committed assault and battery on Sakowska.

The employee was questioned by police after Ordidge was found dead in her apartment. The suit alleges Comcast officials contacted police after Triplett was questioned and after company officials were informed that Triplett was fingerprinted in connection with the case and officials took a DNA sample. Triplett remained on the job, however, according to the suit.

Triplett was assigned to fix Sakowska's Internet connection after being questioned by police, according to the complaint. Her body was discovered Dec. 8, after she had been raped and beaten to death.

Magiera's attorney, Robert Clifford, alleged that police found Sakowska's watch in Triplett's possession and that her credit card was found near the site of a repair job made by the technician.

In a statement issued when the suit was announced in Clifford's office, Magiera said, “Comcast should have been more careful about its workers. People think that workers who come into your home are nice people. They are not.”

Comcast said in a statement: “We remain saddened by this tragic event and extend our deepest sympathies to the families. We continue to cooperate fully with authorities.”

Premier did not comment on the suit.

This is not the first claim against Comcast for the illegal activities of a subcontractor in its employ. In 2003, the parents of a developmentally disabled child in Sacramento, Calif., sued the cable operator when their daughter was raped by a subcontract employee whose past criminal convictions were not revealed during the employment-screening process.

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