CPS Energy sued for another death related to winter storm outages

Esequiel Mendoza died due to reduced dialysis treatment due to power outage, lawsuit alleges

CPS Energy headquarters.
CPS Energy headquarters. (KSAT)

SAN ANTONIO – The family of a San Antonio man who died in February is suing CPS Energy over his death.

The wrongful death suit, filed Monday in the 166th District Court, accused the San Antonio utility of negligence that caused the death of Esequiel Mendoza.

Mendoza’s son found him lying and unresponsive in his home on Feb. 22, days after the storm passed.

In the week before his death, Mendoza was not able to receive his usual life-saving dialysis treatment due to controlled outages imposed by CPS Energy at the request of the state grid, ran by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas. Instead of receiving between four and five hours of treatment, Mendoza only received two, according to the lawsuit.

The family is seeking financial compensation for their loss.

It is at least the second wrongful death suit filed against CPS Energy related to the winter storm. The first lawsuit was brought by the husband of a woman who is believed to have died of hypothermia.

Attorneys for CPS Energy declined to address the pending litigation on Friday morning.

Millions of Texans were without power for days during the storm, leading to an untold number of deaths and other costly consequences.

“Unfortunately, these types of deaths require a thorough investigation into the relevant environmental conditions as well as assessment of the individual’s underlying health conditions, often including additional laboratory testing,” according to a statement from the Bexar County Medical Examiner’s Office. “Therefore, these deaths take several weeks to adequately investigate and determine. Thus, the Bexar County Medical Examiner’s Office does not currently have an accurate count of these types of deaths and may not for some time.”

CPS Energy finds itself on both sides of the courtroom in the aftermath of the winter storm. On Friday, they filed a lawsuit against ERCOT for excessive rate charges accrued during the storm.

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About the Authors:

Fares Sabawi has been a journalist in San Antonio for four years. He has covered several topics, but specializes in crime, courts, open records and data visualization.

Emmy-award winning reporter Dillon Collier joined the KSAT 12 Defenders in 2016. Dillon's investigative stories air weeknights on the Nightbeat. He provides restaurant health reports for KSAT's "Behind the Kitchen Door." Dillon is a two-time Houston Press Club Journalist of the Year and a Texas Associated Press Broadcasters Reporter of the Year.