The family of an 11-year-old boy in Texas whose family believes he died of hypothermia are suing the state energy authority and the utility company Entergy. According to a report from ABC News, the lawsuit lays the blame for Cristian Pavon Pineda’s death at the feet of energy providers who initiated blackouts in the state during the recent cold snap.
Houston attorney Tony Buzbee has taken on the lawsuit, which alleges that both the Electric Reliability Council of Texas and the family’s electricity provider Entergy were negligent in their handling of the forecasted weather event. The lawsuit filed by Buzbee on behalf of the family is seeking $100 million in damages. In the meanwhile, the family has set up a GoFundMe to help with their son’s funeral expenses.
“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 claims, per ABC.
Pineda’s death occurred last Monday in the Houston suburb of Conroe. He passed away overnight, in a bed he shared with his younger sibling in a single-wide trailer. The young boy’s family had emigrated to Texas from Honduras and the day before was his first time ever seeing snow, according to his mother who spoke to the Houston Chronicle. Though his cause of death has not yet been determined and is pending an autopsy, the family maintains that the otherwise healthy child died from the cold while the power was out in their trailer.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of life in our community. We are unable to comment due to pending litigation,” Entergy said in a statement to Houston’s ABC13.
ERCOT also released a statement, seemingly standing by the decision to cause blackouts for the sake of the statewide grid.
“We haven’t yet reviewed the lawsuits and will respond accordingly once we do. Our thoughts are with all Texans who have and are suffering due to this past week,” the utility corporation said. “However, because approximately 46% of privately-owned generation tripped offline this past Monday morning, we are confident that our grid operators made the right choice to avoid a statewide blackout.”
Here is a list of several different organizations that you can donate to, and supplies that Texans need immediately.