In a 5-3 decision on June 24, 2022, the Texas Supreme Court ruled that Texas Central Railroad & Infrastructure Inc. has eminent domain authority, greenlighting its proposed high-speed rail project.
Jackson Walker attorneys Robert B. Neblett (Eminent Domain practice chair) and Jennifer Caughey (Appellate practice chair) led Jackson Walker’s representation of Texas Central in this major appellate victory.
“This was an incredible team effort that was years in the making,” Robert said.
In this decision, the Court faithfully applied statutory text and held that Texas Central qualifies as an interurban electric railway company, with eminent domain authority to carry out its work.
“This is an historic victory,” Jennifer said. “We are extremely proud of our work on this consequential appeal. It was a privilege to work with our skilled Jackson Walker attorneys, and we were thrilled to partner with V&E’s outstanding team.”
This decision affirms the intermediate appellate court ruling in Texas Central’s favor. It concludes years of litigation, resolving the dispute in Texas Central’s favor and enabling the high-speed rail project to proceed forward.
Privately funded by investors and entrepreneurs, Texas Central is the company developing the Texas high-speed train project that will transport commuters between North Texas and Houston in under 90 minutes at speeds up to 200 miles per hour with one stop in the Brazos Valley. Last year, Texas Central achieved several critical regulatory approvals that bring the project closer to construction. The next step in the process is to work with partner organizations and federal and state agencies, led by the Federal Railroad Administration, on finalizing the permits, obtaining certification by the Surface Transportation Board, financially closing on the project, and beginning construction on the rail line.
Robert B. Neblett, chair of Jackson Walker’s Eminent Domain group, led the Firm’s representation of Texas Central for much of the past decade; Jennifer Caughey, chair of the Appellate practice, joined for the appeal. The team also includes W. Brad Anderson, Danica L. Milios, and Adam Aston. Jackson Walker served as co-counsel with Vinson & Elkins LLP.
The case is James Frederick Miles v. Texas Central Railroad & Infrastructure, Inc. and Integrated Texas Logistics, Inc., case number 20-0393, in the Texas Supreme Court. The case was tried in the 87th District Court in Leon County and appealed before the 13th Court of Appeals – Corpus Christi.
For additional information, see the following articles:
- “BREAKING: Texas Justices Greenlight High-Speed Rail Project,” Law360 (June 24, 2022) (subscription required)
- “Definition Of ‘Railroad Co.’ Central In Texas Bullet Train Row,” Law360 (January 11, 2022) (subscription required)
- “Texas Justices Reverse Course To Hear Bullet Train Fight,” Law360 (October 15, 2021) (subscription required)
- “Texas Justices Won’t Hear Bullet Train Eminent Domain Fight,” Law360 (June 21, 2021) (subscription required)
- “Texas Supreme Court declines to review high-speed rail case, freeing company up to use eminent domain,” Community Impact Newspaper (June 18, 2021)
- “Texas Supreme Court possibly clears way for Dallas-Houston bullet train line by siding with advocates on eminent domain,” The Dallas Morning News (June 18, 2021) (subscription may be required)
Meet Our Team
Robert B. Neblett chairs Jackson Walker’s Eminent Domain practice. He has more than 30 years’ experience in litigation and appellate matters, and has developed an emphasis in eminent domain. Robert has been named among The Best Lawyers in America since 2007 and Thomson Reuters’ Super Lawyers since 2017.
Jennifer Caughey is a former Justice on Texas’s First Court of Appeals and current chair of Jackson Walker’s appellate section. Justice Caughey leverages her diverse experience on both sides of the bench to litigate complex cases at the appellate and trial levels. She is recognized by Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business in the area of Litigation: Appellate – Texas and among Thomson Reuters’ Super Lawyers in the area of Appellate Law.
W. Brad Anderson is an eminent domain attorney with extensive experience representing condemning authorities and landowners throughout the state of Texas. Brad has extensive experience in every area of the land acquisition process and advises clients on the legal, political, and practical challenges that come with voluntary and involuntary land acquisition.
Danica L. Milios has over 20 years of appellate experience. She spent 17 years at the Texas Attorney General’s Office, where she began her career as a trial lawyer before ultimately moving to an appellate practice in the Office of the Solicitor General. There, Danica served 3 years as Deputy Solicitor General.
Adam Aston has more than 15 years of experience as an appellate advocate and trial litigator. He spent more than a decade in public service, including the following roles: Principal Deputy Solicitor General for the Texas Attorney General, where he co-managed a team of more than a dozen appellate attorneys; and Deputy General Counsel to the Texas Governor.
Since Jackson Walker’s founding in 1887, our attorneys have represented some of the most influential companies and business leaders in the world. Today, we remain firmly rooted in Texas while serving clients around the globe. With more than 450 attorneys across seven offices, we are the largest law firm in the state and have been recognized by Law360 as a “Texas Powerhouse” and an “elite law firm” that regularly provides counsel to industry-leading clients on highly complex transactions ranging from millions to billions. To explore the Firm’s experience representing clients in condemnation and eminent domain litigation, visit the Trial & Appellate Litigation practice page.