The family of a Texas boy who died last week amid widespread power outages caused by severe winter temperatures is suing state energy regulators for negligence.
A family attorney filed the lawsuit in a court in Jefferson County on Saturday, accusing state grid operator Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) and energy provider Entergy of wrongful death. The family seeks $100 million in damages for 11-year-old Cristian Pavón Pineda’s death.
“This is a tragedy, and our thoughts and prayers are with the family,” ERCOT said in a statement. “We haven’t reviewed any pending lawsuits yet and will respond accordingly once we do.”
Entergy said they could not comment due to pending litigation, according to the Houston Chronicle.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of life in our community,” the company said.
Cristian was found lying dead next to his younger brother last Tuesday and he is believed to have died of hypothermia caused by the sub-zero temperatures.
The family said the boy was healthy and did not complain the night before he died. He spent part of the day playing outdoors in the snow.
“It was his “first time (seeing snow). That’s why he was excited outside,” said his mother, Maria Elisa Pineda on Thursday. “Everything was well. He was happy that day. He was not at all sick.”
The Pineda family accuses ERCOT and Entergy of failing “to warn people of the dangerous conditions and gave incomplete guidance to customers.”
“Despite having knowledge of the dire weather forecast for at least a week in advance, and the knowledge that the system was not prepared for more than a decade, ERCOT and Entergy failed to take any preemptory action that could have averted the crisis and were wholly unprepared to deal with the crisis at hand,” the lawsuit reads, per Fox News.
Attorney Tony Buzbee, who filed the suit, wrote that the state’s energy providers “put profits over the welfare of people” by failing to reinforce their infrastructure following a 2011 winter storm.
“Of course, just because it is not legally required to do so, does not mean that failing to do so is reasonable behavior,” the lawsuit states. “ERCOT failed all Texans, and allowed providers to fail Texans.”
The medical examiner’s office has conducted an autopsy and the cause of death is expected to be revealed in the coming weeks, according to the Chronicle.
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Author: Damjan Tutarkov
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