PRESS RELEASE September 27, 2016


Texans Against High-Speed Rail Calls for Texas Central to Drop Remaining Lawsuits

Jewett, Texas – On Friday, Texas landowners achieved a landmark victory in Houston, where Texas Central withdrew its request for a temporary injunction to survey a Harris County property owned by Calvin House. Texas Central’s lawsuit claimed eminent domain power as a railroad, with the right to survey private property for its ill-conceived high-speed rail project. At the hearing, the judge first wanted to hear from Texas Central representative Shaun McCabe, a vice president with the company. After a skillful cross-examination by Blake Beckham, TAHSR Special Litigation Counsel, the judge questioned Texas Central’s attorney repeatedly about its claim that Texas Central will suffer “imminent harm” if not allowed an immediate survey. The judge also wanted to know why there hasn’t been a hearing in Jim Miles’ suit in Leon County, which was filed back in March. He wondered why – three months ago – Mr. McCabe swore Texas Central needed to survey Jim’s property immediately or it would cause great harm to the project, but Texas Central still hasn’t asked for a hearing in Leon County. The writing was on the wall. The judge was not going to grant an injunction, so Texas Central tucked tail, folded, and withdrew its request.

This was the first hearing held in any Texas court on the issue of whether Texas Central has eminent domain power and the right to get an injunction to survey property. Texas Central picked the county, the defendant, and the court, but still came away empty-handed.

We would like to thank Calvin House for standing up to Texas Central and its bully tactics. Texas landowners have a right to refuse access to their private property, which is exactly what Mr. House did. We also want to thank Blake Beckham and Patrick McShan of The Beckham Group, and Glenn Sodd, Jason Sodd, and Jody McSpadden of the Dawson & Sodd law firm in Corsicana. All five attorneys attended the hearing and have been working tirelessly to defend Mr. House’s and other landowners’ private property rights. Here is the brief our attorneys filed in response to Texas Central’s lawsuit against Mr. House:

Texas Central still has a number of pending cases against landowners alleging the right to survey, including in Harris County where it just folded in its hearing against Mr. House. Many of Texas Central’s cases target small tracts of land in hopes that these landowners will be financially unable to fight back. Texas Central had its chance and lost. Texans Against High-Speed Rail calls on Texas Central and its affiliates to do the right thing and immediately dismiss these other cases, and stop trying to threaten and bully Texas landowners into giving up their private property rights. We will not back down, and we encourage all Texas property owners not to either.



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