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Oncor silent on appeal option in multimillion-dollar wrongful death judgment

Jury awards family over $30M in Oncor Electric wrongful death case
Jury awards family over $30M in Oncor Electric wrongful death case 02:50

NORTH TEXAS — The wife and children of Shamsher Singh couldn't leave Dallas without finding the spot where he was killed.

"This family will never be the same," Matt Greenberg said.

Greenberg is an attorney with Zehl & Associates who represents Baldish Kaur, her two daughters, and her son. According to The Houston-based lawyer, before the family went back to the Fresno, California area, they wanted to drive by the 3700 block of Interstate 635, westbound.

"They wanted to come see the spot, you know, where their husband and father took his last breaths," Greenberg said. "So they were able to do that."

The family came for the wrongful death civil trial against Oncor Electricity Delivery Company. A current worker, not being named by CBS News Texas because he did not face criminal charges, hit the back of Singh's 18-wheeler, Dallas Police said.

The fatal crash happened on August 7, 2021. Police initially reported Singh was ejected from the truck. But Greenberg said the truck-driving father of four was outside the vehicle.

"He was outside the vehicle for only forty-eight seconds before this crash happened," Greenberg said. 

The attorney said Singh was on the ground looking at something when the crash happened. Greenberg said Singh had dropped a load of California strawberries. He was reportedly heading back to the West Coast with Texas beef but stopped on the busy shoulder of Dallas' LBJ.

In a clip of video presented in court and provided by attorneys to CBS News Texas, a bucket truck is seen crashing into the back of Singh's 18-wheeler. According to Greenberg, the video became vital during the civil trial.

"If he had his eyes on the road---if he was looking ahead of him, he would have seen Mr. Singh's vehicle and could have avoided the crash," Greenberg said.

Images on the ground from the lawsuit show the wreckage of a crushed Oncor truck and Singh's battered truck.

Distracted driving was pivotal, too. Attorneys alleged the Oncor employee

was distracted by his cell phone. The cell phone, attorneys allege, showed an active data session during the crash. However, the legal wranglings did not reveal whether the session was via text, social media, the internet, or phone calls. The employee denied the allegation.

A jury ultimately sided by awarding Singh's family more than $30 million in damages. Greenberg's firm said it was $37.5 million. Oncor noted that the figure needed to be corrected.

Oncor said the following in a statement: "This was a tragic and heartbreaking accident. Our sympathies remain with Mr. Singh's family and their loved ones. We appreciate the jury's consideration and have no further comment at this time."

Oncor would not say if the company will appeal the financial jury award.

Meantime, Singh's loved ones are back at home, Greenberg said, feeling vindicated.

"They wanted us to find out what happened, to hold Oncor responsible, and to try to prevent this from happening again," Greenberg said.

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