Lawyers for Texas blackout victims say ruling is key step in holding ERCOT accountable for role in 2021 blackout deaths, property damage
DALLAS – Trial lawyers taking a leadership role in holding Texas electricity grid operator the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) and Texas providers accountable for deaths and damages caused during the 2021 winter storm blackout welcomed a key ruling from a Texas appellate court that strips ERCOT of its long-held claim to sovereign immunity to civil litigation.
While the 12-1 ruling from the Fifth District Court of Appeals in Dallas is destined for review by the Supreme Court of Texas, the strongly worded and nearly unanimous ruling clearly found that ERCOT’s immunity claim has no basis in Texas law, said trial lawyer Majed Nachawati of Dallas-based Fears Nachawati law firm, which represents dozens of Texas residents who died during the blackout, as well as property owners who suffered extensive losses.
“We are pleased with the court’s decision, which brings us one step closer to obtaining justice,” Mr. Nachawati said. “The power companies made billions with the support of our corrupt politicians and must be held accountable by the civil justice system and should be indicted for their conduct that resulted in hundreds of deaths and unnecessary suffering to millions of taxpaying Texas citizens. We look forward to getting justice for these individuals and remain hopeful that state and federal prosecutors will hold the power companies and corrupt politicians accountable in the criminal justice system as well. The public demands accountability and we all must do our part to eliminate corruption and greed that harms everyone.”
Wednesday’s ruling in Panda Power Generation v. ERCOT is not directly related to the blackout, but it speaks to similar claims made by ERCOT in response to the blackout-related lawsuits.
“The supreme court has not extended sovereign immunity to a purely private entity neither chartered nor created by the state, and this court will not create new precedent by extending sovereign immunity to ERCOT,” Fifth District Court of Appeals Justice Erin Nowell wrote in the opinion.
Fears Nachawati trial lawyers have taken a leadership role in multidistrict litigation consolidated in Houston seeking justice for those injured and killed during the storm, as well as businesses and individuals who suffered property damage.
Fears Nachawati law firm represents individuals in mass-tort litigation, businesses and governmental entities in contingent litigation, and individual victims in complex personal injury litigation. One of the largest and most diverse products liability law firms in the nation, Fears Nachawati was ranked No. 1 nationally in products liability filings in federal court over the past three years, according to Lex Machina. For more information visit https://www.fnlawfirm.com.