Flores v Electric Reliability Council of Texas et al., Case No. 2021CI06224, filed in Bexar County Court at Law.
Watts Guerra LLP, Fears Nachawati PLLC, and Parker Waichman LLP, three national law firms that have long fought to protect the rights of victims injured by the wrongdoing of large corporations, filed a wrongful taking of property and private nuisance lawsuit on April 1, 2021 against Electric Reliability Council of Texas, Inc. (“ERCOT”), CPS Energy, Calpine Corp., Luminant Generation Co., Vistra Corp., Duke Energy Corp., NRG Energy, Inc., Exelon Generation Co., LLC, Tenaska Gateway Partners, Ltd., and Tenaska, Inc, Inc.in District Court, Bexar County, Texas on behalf of Clara Flores, an individual residing in Bexar County, Texas. Clara Flores is the surviving spouse of Decedent Luis Flores. At the time of his death, Luis Flores resided in San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas. Mr. Flores died at home of liver failure as a direct result of the power outage.
The lawsuit alleges that failures by ERCOT CPS Energy, Calpine Corp., Luminant Generation Co., Vistra Corp., Duke Energy Corp., NRG Energy, Inc., Exelon Generation Co., LLC, Tenaska Gateway Partners, Ltd., and Tenaska, Inc. to anticipate increased energy demand during the storm and weatherize and update their facilities resulted in the rolling blackouts which left millions of Texans, including the Flores family, without power for days.
According to the Complaint, Mr. Flores was medically dependent on dialysis treatment he received at the Fresenius Kidney Care Northwest Bexar County. The facility lost power on February 15, 2021 and remained closed due to the power loss until February 19, 2021. As a result, two of Mr. Flores’ dialysis appointments were cancelled. Mr. Flores’ son made an appointment as soon as the facility re-opened on February 19, but it was too late. Mr. Flores collapsed and passes away in his driveway before he could receive necessary dialysis. The lawsuit seeks damages for Mr. Flores’ physical pain and mental anguish before his death along with punitive damages and other damages on behalf of his surviving widow and children.
The lawsuit lays out a string of allegations. The action claims that ERCOT and the other companies involved in the management of power in Texas failed to anticipate increased energy demands and increase electric production capacity in Texas in advance of the February 2021 winter storm, though similar events have happened repeatedly in recent years. The Complaint also alleges that defendants should have weatherized and updated their generation, transmission, and distribution facilities in order to prevent cold-weather power failures such as this one, but consciously chose not to do so.
This cold weather event and its effects on the Texas energy grid were neither unprecedented, nor unexpected, nor unforeseen. Texas experienced disruptive cold weather events in 1983, 1989, 2003, 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2011. The events in 1989 and 2011, in particular, led to exactly the same type of rolling blackouts that have affected Texas residents and businesses. After the 2011 event, The Texas Public Utilities Commission and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission both concluded that corrective actions taken after the 1989 event were inadequate – but the Defendants ignored these conclusions and failed to remedy the problem. Foreseeably, in February 2021, after Defendants chose not to implement the reasonable economical remedies recommended in 1989 and 2011, power failed across Texas, resulting in enormous losses, including deaths.
Mikal Watts, founding partner of Watts Guerra LLP, noted that “Mr. Flores died needlessly through no fault of anyone but Texas energy providers who consciously chose to save money by failing to winterize their equipment after being asked to do so after the 2011 freeze.”
Bryan Fears, founding partner of Fears Nachawati, PLLC, who has decades of experience representing victims of corporate misconduct, called these companies have evaded accountability for too long. “These companies disregarded numerous warnings leading up to this tragedy,” he said. “It’s time for them to answer for their short-sighted actions.”
Jerrold S. Parker, founding partner of Parker Waichman LLP, who has battled for victims of corporate greed over many decades and in many courtrooms throughout the United States, said that the extent of the neglect by the Texas power companies is some of the most significant he has ever seen. “The deaths of nearly 200 people are now linked to February’s blackouts. Many of these deaths might have been avoided if the Texas energy industry had taken appropriate measures.”
Filing a Texas Power Outage Lawsuit
Fears Nachawati, Parker Waichman and Watts Guerra have represented clients in injury lawsuits for decades. If you or someone you know is interested in filing a Texas Power Outage lawsuit, please call 1-800-800-4499 or visit the firms’ Texas Power Outage website.
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