While the recent winter storms affected the entire country, Texas was uniquely unprepared for them. Individuals, families, and businesses have suffered damage to their homes and the places they work, absurd energy charges, not to mention injury and loss of life.
Holding Electric Companies Responsible
ERCOT, which manages the state’s electricity grid, and the American Electric Power Company, which is responsible for transmitting electricity across the state, failed to prepare for the predicted winter storm, which caused widespread and prolonged power outages, with temperatures dropping as low as 13 degrees. Fears Nachawati recently filed one of the first lawsuits in the state against ERCOT and AEP, seeking relief from the resulting injuries and widespread property damage caused by their gross negligence. “Texas had practically identical failures in 1989 and 2011 that resulted in exhaustive reports and recommendations,” said Fears Nachawati trial lawyer Patrick Luff. “This was an emergency solely because of a failure to plan and learn previous lessons.”
As reported in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the lawsuit cites a federal report filed after a similar storm in 2011, which included a list of recommendations Texas should implement if it wished to avoid future disasters. “Such preventative measures […] include installing heating elements around pipes and increasing reserve power available before storms. […] The emergency was caused solely by their failure to heed investigation findings from similar grid failures in 2011 and 1989.”
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a Texas man who was recovering from COVID-19 when the storms hit. He is being represented by Fears Nachawati trial attorney Patrick Luff. “Texas had seen these same types of failures before and failed to do anything about them,” said Luff. “The damage resulting from February’s storm was completely avoidable. In doing nothing to prepare, ERCOT and AEP made a conscious decision.”
ERCOT’s and AEP’s response to the storms are currently being investigated by the Harris County Attorney’s Office. In a story run by The Dallas Morning News, representatives from both organizations had either failed or declined to comment. ERCOT is a non-profit organization which functions much like a government agency. In the past, it has claimed that it is shielded from legal accountability by sovereign immunity, which protects government agencies from legal claims. However, the Texas constitution says that, “no person’s property shall be taken, damaged, or destroyed for or applied to public use without adequate compensation being made.” We can clearly see that in February 2021, this was not the case.
“Corporate defendants often benefit from stall tactics that make it harder to obtain information about who was responsible and exactly what happened,” said Fears Nachawati co-founder and partner Bryan Fears. “These victims deserve answers.”
We are prepared to help those affected by the recent winter storms.
Fears Nachawati Law Firm is working to get people like you the help they deserve. We are here to answer your questions:
- What do you do if you or a family member was injured as a result of the storm?
- What steps should you take if your home or business suffered property damage?
- Is there help available for those who suffered business income losses?
If you or a loved one suffered any of these injuries or losses from the Texas Power Outages, please contact us for a free consultation.