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Mother whose 11-year-old son died in Texas freeze sues for $100 million

Stock MarketsFeb 22, 2021 01:30PM ET
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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) command center in Taylor

By Jonathan Stempel

(Reuters) - The mother of an 11-year-old boy who died after they lost electricity and heat in their Texas mobile home during last week's freeze has filed a $100 million lawsuit against two power companies for gross negligence.

Maria Pineda said the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) and Entergy Corp (NYSE:ETR) are responsible for the death of her son Cristian, who was found unresponsive on the morning of Feb. 16 at home, where he shared a bed with his 3-year-old brother.

More than 4 million people in Texas lost power and at least two dozen people died after a snowstorm blanketed the state last week and sent temperatures plunging well below freezing.

The complaint filed on Saturday accused the defendants of ignoring a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission recommendation following a 2011 freeze to "winterize" the power grid, and were caught "wholly unprepared" when the grid failed last week.

Cristian froze to death "because grid wasn't a priority, and the energy provider made decisions based on profits," said the complaint filed in the Jefferson County District Court.

The family lives in Conroe, Texas, a Houston suburb.

ERCOT, a cooperative responsible for about 90% of Texas' electricity, did not immediately respond on Monday to a request for comment.

Entergy declined to discuss the lawsuit, but a spokesman said: "We are deeply saddened by the loss of life in our community."

Pineda's lawyer Tony Buzbee told ABC News he represents seven families who suffered deaths in the storm's aftermath, and more lawsuits against power companies are planned. An autopsy on Cristian is being performed, ABC News said.

ERCOT began rolling blackouts on Feb. 15, saying they were needed to avert a cascading, statewide outage.

President Joe Biden approved a major disaster declaration for Texas on Saturday.

Texas has an unusual, deregulated energy market that lets it avoid federal regulation but limits its ability to draw emergency power from other grids.

Mother whose 11-year-old son died in Texas freeze sues for $100 million
 

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Comments (6)
Alan Rice
Alan Rice Feb 22, 2021 8:38PM ET
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FERC recommendation: a recommendation. (Does not REQUIRE action(s).)
ZS Beck
ZS Beck Feb 22, 2021 4:34PM ET
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Why you leave your kids alone in freezing temperatures. You should be sued by your children and sent to jail.
Jeff Gordon
Jeff Gordon Feb 22, 2021 3:41PM ET
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those parents should be in jail for negligence. Ever hear of blankets? No one dies in shelter with dry clothes, blankets, etc. You can easily survive in a tent on Everest at 40 below zero. This whole story makes no sense?
Ernesto Lujan
Ernesto Lujan Feb 22, 2021 2:28PM ET
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what a good way to profit off your kid's death.
Ernesto Lujan
Ernesto Lujan Feb 22, 2021 2:27PM ET
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what a good way to profit off your kid's death. maybe she should have gave him blankets instead of getting drunk
Gamer Paper
Gamer Paper Feb 22, 2021 1:17PM ET
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Only in murica
 
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