Law firm consortium files “Master Petition” suing utility providers on behalf of thousands of Texas consumers
Published 5:03 pm Tuesday, March 2, 2021
To The Leader
Two national plaintiff powerhouse law firms, Brent Coon & Associates and Robins Cloud, LLP, have jointly filed the first rounds of freeze victim claims against hundreds of the energy generators and providers associated to the power losses. The claims are being filed on behalf of those who lost power for extended periods, suffered serious property damage and even tragically involved serious personal injury and loss of life.
Coon and Robins will personally anchor a team of dozens of law firms and specialized litigation lawyers who are undertaking unified legal action on behalf of tens of thousands of customers who lost power and sustained other damages as a result of the ERCOT power grid failure and other related claims. Both firms have multiple offices around the Country but consider themselves “Texas based” with home offices in Houston and Beaumont.
Brent Coon has represented tens of thousands of clients in mass tort cases all across the country and is one of the best known litigators in the mass tort and energy sector litigation. Bill Robins’ firm appears in the case on the heels of their most recent successful resolution of thousands of cases in the PG&E utility fires in California. The firms have worked together before, including a successful nine week trial in Galveston in 2009 associated with the BP Texas City Refinery Explosion.
“While our firm and Bill’s firm have handled thousands of cases on our own as lead counsel, to do this case right, with the number of claimants that will be involved, defendants involved, and legal and political issues involved, we felt the best approach was a team approach,” stated Brent Coon.
This team approach will provide all the resources needed to turn over every rock that led to the dozens of failures within the power grid system and manners in which power is distributed throughout Texas under the auspices of a notoriously deregulated system and clear incompetency with oversight of this fundamental process with the PUC and ERCOT. We have a bank of experts in the legal world and the utility and energy world working full time around the clock to get this matter going, and will be reaching out to the Texas Supreme Court and the Texas Multi-District Litigation Panel (“MDL Panel”) immediately to take the next step in consolidating all of this litigation to create the best system of organization for what is clearly the largest litigation ever pursued in Texas. An estimated $46 Billion alone was scammed from consumers just in price gouging during the storm before even considering the millions of customers who lost power for extended periods of time and the many billions of dollars and resulting damages to life and property.
“Regardless of their failed leadership with PUC and ERCOT, the core problems were due to the typical reasons we have seen in dozens of prior catastrophic events, the companies involved made conscious decisions to cut corners and take advantage of market conditions to the disadvantage of their own customers. Fundamental winterization of generation and production systems has existed for decades and were ignored in spite of many forewarnings. Price gouging again was rampant. There needs to be a major housecleaning of the PUC and ERCOT and legislative authority for enforcement of system integrity protocols to ensure this will never happen again. Already the rats are leaving the ship with the administrators, but little will change with refilling empty board seats for cushy jobs without new mandates from the public through the legislature,” says Coon.
The initial pleadings filed today for the first time naming hundreds of generators whose power production sources were curtailed due to failure to winterize and seeks to hold them directly accountable for the massive losses. The firms are also immediately reaching out to the Texas Supreme Court and the Texas MDL Panel to further organize the litigation as cases begin to pop up all over the state on behalf of various individuals affected by the storm.
Bill Robins also explains the benefit of master pleading practice that brings all the stakeholders into a single cause of action. “Our primary goal is to establish what we would call ‘mother ship’ pleadings and case structure so that we can avoid inundating the legal system with literally tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of individual claims all over the state. We have participated and helped lead many of the federal and state Multi-District Litigation (MDL) proceedings that can be created to streamline this process. This takes leadership and initiative, which is what we are bringing to the table. It will create continuity and efficiency to the process and greatly reduce transactional costs that are always a big factor in cases of this nature and will free up most other courts to address the already building and lingering the problem of many thousands of other unrelated cases sitting on dockets waiting for the effects of the pandemic to subside.”
As Senator Brandon Creighton said in legislative hearings this week, “This is the largest train wreck in the history of deregulated electricity.” This petition will anchor tens of thousands of claims to an organized and efficient manner of litigating the claims without overwhelming the court systems of many thousands of individual cases.