Lawyers for Texas Winter Blackout Victims Seek to Fast-Track Investigations, Testimony
The flurry of legal filings comes as additional wrongful death lawsuits have been filed in Harris and Dallas counties. In addition, a request for company representatives to submit to pre-litigation depositions has been filed in Bexar County by trial lawyers with Dallas-based Fears Nachawati Law Firm, San Antonio-based Watts Guerra LLP, and New York-based Parker Waichman LLP.
The law firms represent relatives of more than 30 individuals who died after the state’s electricity grid manager ERCOT and electricity transmission companies failed to prepare for the predicted winter storm, which caused widespread and prolonged power outages as temperatures approached 0 degrees.
“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 trial lawyer Bryan Fears. “These victims deserve answers.”
The lawsuits charge that the companies were negligent by failing to heed specific recommendations following similar winter storms in 1989 and 2011, including failing to winterize machinery and to properly manage the electricity supply during ensuing power disruptions. A motion filed in Harris County court seeks to expedite the discovery process to investigate business relationships between the defendants and other potential parties to the litigation. The request was filed in the lawsuit, Linda Brown, individually, as next kin of Doyle Aron Austin vs. Electric Reliability Council of Texas, Inc., and CenterPoint Energy, Inc.
The request for pre-litigation depositions was filed on behalf of the son of a San Antonio woman who died after her supplemental oxygen machine was disabled during the prolonged power outage. The request is filed under Rule 202 of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure and is designed for cases in which the timeliness of obtaining sworn testimony is deemed critical. It seeks testimony from defendants including CPS Energy, Calpine Corp., Luminant Generation Corp., Vistra Corp., Duke Energy, NRG Energy, Exelon Generation Co., Tenaska Gateway Partners, and Tenaska Inc.
“By allowing utility companies and providers to make a representative available to answer specific questions, relatives of these victims are able focus their pursuit of justice efficiently and precisely,” said trial lawyer Mikal Watts of Watts Guerra LLP. “It’s in everyone’s interest to make this basic information available early so that our clients are not victimized all over again by a slow and inefficient path to justice.”
“The most effective way to determine how this preventable tragedy occurred is for corporate representatives to provide some basic information early in this process,” said Jerrold Parker of Parker Waichman LLP.
Watts Guerra, Fears Nachawati and Parker Waichman 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 at https://www.texaspowerfailure2021lawsuit.com.
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