DALLAS — More than 100 people died during the historic February Texas freeze, one of the worst power outages the country has seen.
More wrongful death lawsuits are being filed against ERCOT and ONCOR Energy. The newest lawsuit the two electrical companies are facing comes out of North Texas.
In the Dallas community of Deep Ellum, there was Leobardo Sanchez, also known as the "Cotton Candy Man" because he sold cotton candy throughout the neighborhood.
Whether you had a sweet tooth or not, those who knew him say it wasn’t hard for Sanchez to put a smile on your face.
Unfortunately, Sanchez died during the freeze. His body was found wrapped under blankets in his home. A Dallas attorney says that’s a sign that he was trying to stay warm the best way he knew how, but it didn’t work.
Shayan Elahi is the civil rights attorney for the family of Leobardo Sanchez. Now that Sanchez is gone, Elahi is preparing to go after ERCOT and ONCOR Energy by seeking more than $1 million in the wrongful death lawsuit.
“One of the reasons why we bring up lawsuits is so these things do not happen again. That’s the way the American system works. We must hold people responsible and there should be some consequences,” said Elahi.
The 8-page lawsuit lists ERCOT because of recommendations to upgrade the grid that came as early as 1983 and as recent as 2011. ONCOR is also listed as a defendant because it’s the company that supplied power to Sanchez’s home.
“When ERCOT decided to shut off the power, ONCOR went along with it,” Elahi said.
A spokesperson for ONCOR responded through email that she would be unable to comment on pending litigation.
Sanchez, or the Cotton Candyman as many called him, lived in Dallas alone. His family is over in Mexico. Sanchez moved to the states to help support his family by the way of the fluffy, sweet treat.
“As a kid or adult that’s a joyful thing. He talked to people, people knew him by name. People knew he would be there. He was a constant in Deep Ellum. So, to see this man die alone in this fashion in his apartment trying to keep warm is just beyond tragedy,” Elahi explained.
Sanchez’s body was shipped back to Mexico, with money raised through a GoFund Me so his family could bury him somewhere close to them.
Elahi wants this case to be seen by a jury during trial. This means the family will have to travel from Mexico back to the states if it does go to court and they plan to make the trip to Texas if that happens.