Monday, April 22, 2024
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Landowner files petition seeking court-ordered deposition of Texas Central

On Monday, Harris County landowner Calvin House filed a petition seeking a pre-suit deposition to investigate potential claims against Texas Central Railway, the company previously promoting a high-speed rail between Dallas and Houston. Mr. House is asking the court to order Texas Central to present a representative for deposition to answer questions under oath on a number of topics concerning the status of its failed Dallas-to-Houston high-speed rail project. The matter is pending in the 298th District Court, Dallas County.

In 2016, Texas Central sued Mr. House in an attempt to obtain a survey of his private property. After losing two court hearings, Texas Central dropped its lawsuit against Mr. House in early 2017. Over the next six years, Texas Central never came close to putting a shovel in the ground and almost certainly never will. The company has no money, no CEO, no executive leadership, no board of directors, and only a fraction of the property needed along the proposed route.

Regarding the current state of affairs, Mr. House explained: “In short, it does appear that Texas Central is doing some things. However, none of the things Texas Central is now doing suggest in any manner whatsoever that it does, in fact, intend to construct and operate [the project]. If that is indeed the case, it is time for Texas Central to come clean and admit the Project is over so [I do] not suffer further harm.”

Texas Central’s actions are harming landowners, like Mr. House, by preventing them from freely using and enjoying their property. Like other impacted landowners, Mr. House cannot sell or refinance his property without first disclosing that Texas Central is still claiming that it intends to construct the project. Texas Central’s false claims have stigmatized and depressed the value of Mr. House and other impacted landowners’ property to this day.

Like many other landowners, Mr. House’s frustration with the company’s underhanded tactics is clear in his petition: “Enough is enough. If Texas Central will admit that it no longer intends to construct and operate the Project, [I] will non-suit this Petition for a Rule 202 deposition. If, on the other hand, Texas Central continues to stubbornly insist that it intends to construct and operate the Project, [I respectfully request] that the Court order Texas Central to present a corporate representative for deposition to answer questions regarding any such claimed intentions.”

Mr. House’s full petition can be found here.

Blake Beckham, Mr. House’s attorney and also an impacted landowner, said, “This project is dead. I know it. Mr. House and all the other landowners who’ve had to deal with this company for nearly a decade know it. And Texas Central knows it. These landowners have suffered long enough. It’s time for Texas Central to finally do the right thing and admit the project is over.”

Judge Trey Duhon, President of Texans Against HSR, said of the petition, “It’s terrible that it requires a deposition for Texans to get any answers about the fate of their own private property. We hope Mr. House gets the answers he is seeking and Texas Central is exposed for what we all know it to be…finished.”

We want to thank attorneys Blake Beckham and Patrick McShan of Beckham Portela and Jody McSpadden and Jason Sodd of Dawson Sodd for their hard work and continued support of TAHSR, Mr. House and his family, and all impacted landowners.

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