In a unanimous decision, the state’s highest civil court has thrown out the contempt of court order against Dallas salon owner Shelley Luther.
Luther made national headlines last year when she opened her Dallas salon despite government mandates from Gov. Greg Abbott and local officials, which prohibited hair salons and other so-called “non-essential” businesses from being open.
In May of 2020, Democrat Dallas Judge Eric Moyé sentenced Luther to seven days in jail and $7,000 in fines for contempt of court for violating a temporary restraining order after she refused to close her salon or apologize for having opened it, resulting in a wave of grassroots support for Luther, urging Abbott to intervene and pardon her case.
Ultimately, the Texas Supreme Court intervened, ordering Luther’s release after two nights as they considered the case.
Now, nearly one year later, the court has made its ruling, unanimously deciding to toss the temporary restraining order.
In its ruling, the Court explained that Moyé’s ruling was too vague, and Luther should not have been thrown in jail:
The temporary restraining order here does not cite any statute, order, or regulation explicitly stating that a violation would justify the issuance of an injunction. Instead, it generally cites “State of Texas, Dallas County, and/or City of Dallas emergency regulations related to the COVID-19 pandemic” without specifying which of them Luther violated.
“To say we are pleased with the Court’s ruling is an understatement,” Luther said after the decision was released, while also thanking her lawyer Warren Norred for his work defending her in the case.
“We’re grateful for the support we’ve received from individuals across the country, and we ask that you continue to lift us up in prayer,” she added.
Luther also took the opportunity to take aim at two proposals moving through the state Legislature, House Bill 3 and Senate Bill 6, which have been criticized for potentially codifying federal health guidelines on Texas businesses, such as double-masking.
“What happened to me can happen again. Lawmakers need to protect business owners from busybody bureaucrats, not whitewash pandemic power grabs, empowering similar behavior in the future,” said Luther.
Luther also added that the City of Dallas continues to persecute her, and it’s unclear how this ruling will affect Luther’s still pending legal fight with the city.