When should a party specially except to the grounds of a summary judgment motion?  Should the non-movant specially except when the grounds are ambiguous?  Or if the grounds are not expressly present? 

The Dallas Court of Appeals addressed this issue in Garza v. CTX Mortgage Company, LLC

The Garzas sued CTX for various causes of action relating to CTX’s management and administration of the loan proceeds used to construct their house.  CTX successfully moved for summary judgment on all of the Garzas’ claims.  The Garzas appealed.

On appeal, the Garzas argued for the first time that CTX did not identify and negate an essential element of each of their claims.  CTX argued that the Garzas waived the argument on appeal because they did not specially except in the trial court.  Did the Garzas waive their right to contest the grounds of CTX’s motion?

According to the Court, the Garzas did not need to specially except because special exceptions to summary judgment grounds are only required when the motion is ambiguous.  Here, the motion simply failed to identify and negate elements of each of the Garzas’ claims, which is an issue that may be presented for the first time on appeal.

Here is the opinion.