Master of His Domain: Dallas Judge Dismisses Law Prof From Defamation Lawsuit

Well, there's at least one person in this world Highland Park developer Hiram Walker Royall can't sue, at least not this week: law professor Richard Epstein, who provided a blurb for the back of Carla Main's book Bulldozed: "Kelo," Eminent Domain, and the American Lust for Land. As we've mentioned before, Main's book is about a dispute between Royall, who was developing a marina down in Freeport, and Wright Gore III, whose family owned a wholesale shrimp business on land Royall wanted. When the Highland Park developer wouldn't pay what Gore was asking, the city of Freeport claimed eminent domain, seized the property and delivered it to Royall. Epstein, the James Parker Hall Distinguished Service Professor of Law University of Chicago, gave Main this blurb for the back of the book:

"Like a Greek tragedy unfolding, Carla Main's book chronicles the eminent domain struggles in Freeport, Texas, which pitted the Gore family, with its longtime shrimp business, against the machinations of an unholy alliance between city politicians and developers. If you have ever shared the Supreme Court's unquestioned deference to the public planning process that shaped its ill-fated Kelo decision, you'll surely change your mind as you follow this sordid saga to its bitter end. You'll never look at eminent domain in the same way again."

So Royall sued Epstein -- not to mention Main, publisher Encounter, a book reviewer and papers that ran book reviews. Yesterday, though, Dallas Judge Carlos Cortez dismissed the prof from the lawsuit. Says Epstein in a media release issued moments ago by the Institute for Justice, which is representing Main and Encounter, "It is a great relief to be dismissed on jurisdictional grounds from a suit that should never have been brought. I am confident that Carla Main and her co-defendants will be fully vindicated on the merits. It is a sad day when reporting of the highest professional standards invites groundless defamation suits that only bring discredit on people like H. Royall Walker, who unwisely brought this action."

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