Objections to Affidavit for Lack of Jurat Must be Objected to at Trial Court
In The Mansions in the Forest, L.P. v. Montgomery County, 10-0969, 2012 WL 1370867 (Tex. Apr. 20, 2012), the Texas Supreme Court considered whether the lack of a jurat – a clause stating that a writing was sworn to before an authorized officer – in an affidavit opposing a motion for summary judgment is a defect that must have been objected to before the trial court ruled on the motion in order to preserve error.
The Beaumont Court of Appeals had previously held that omission of a jurat was a substantive defect under both the Texas Government Code and Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 166a, and that such a defect could be raised for the first time on appeal. However, the Texas Supreme Court disagreed, holding that that neither the Government Code nor Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 166a requires such an affidavit to contain a jurat. However, to meet the definition of an “affidavit” under the Texas Government Code Section 312.011, the record must indicate the affidavit was sworn to. In this case, there was no such evidence in the record; therefore, the written statement did not meet the requirements of an affidavit.
Furthermore, because no objection to the affidavit was made in the trial court about the purported affidavit’s failure to satisfy the requirements of the Texas Government Code, the defect was waived and was not preserved for appeal.