Larry Dovalina, et al. v. The Laredo Morning Times and Tricia Cortez--Appeal from 49th Judicial District Court of Webb County

Annotate this Case
No. 04-07-00480-CV
Larry DOVALINA, City Manager of the City of Laredo, Texas,
and Agustin Dovalina, III, Chief of Police of the City of Laredo, Texas,
From the 49th Judicial District Court, Webb County, Texas
Trial Court No. 2007-CVQ-00926-D1
Honorable Gus J. Strauss, Judge Presiding

Opinion by: Phylis J. Speedlin, Justice


Sitting: Alma L. L pez, Chief Justice

Phylis J. Speedlin, Justice

Steven C. Hilbig, Justice

Delivered and Filed: February 13, 2008


Larry Dovalina, City Manager of the City of Laredo, Texas, and Agustin Dovalina, III, Chief of Police of the City of Laredo, Texas, appeal the trial court's summary judgment in the underlying libel case. The sole issue presented on appeal is "The trial court committed reversible error when it struck the affidavits filed by the plaintiffs/appellants in response to the defendants/appellants' [sic] motion for summary judgment and thereafter granted the defendants/appellants' [sic] summary judgment." The appellants' brief, however, does not contain any argument relating to the affidavits or cite any authority to support the contention that they were improperly stricken. See Tex. R. App. P. 38.1. "Appellants cannot merely state the [issue] and then wholly fail to brief [it] in their appellants' brief." Bechtel Corp. v. City of San Antonio, No. 04-04-00910-CV, 2006 WL 228689, at *2 (Tex. App.--San Antonio Feb. 1, 2006, no pet.); see also In re Estate of Willich, No. 12-06-00409-CV, 2007 WL 4465235, at *3 (Tex. App.--Tyler Dec. 21, 2007, no pet. h.) (brief must contain argument and appropriate citations); Hope's Financial Mgmt. v. Chase Manhattan Mortg. Corp., 172 S.W.3d 105, 107 (Tex. App.--Dallas 2005, pet. denied) (same); Wilson & Wilson Tax Services, Inc. v. Mohammed, 131 S.W.3d 231, 242 (Tex. App.--Houston [14th Dist.] 2004, no pet.) (same). By failing to properly brief the issue presented, the appellants have presented nothing for us to review. See In re Estate of Willich, 2007 WL 4465235, at *3; Bechtel Corp., 2006 WL 228689, at *2; Hope's Financial Mgmt., 172 S.W.3d at 107; Mohammed, 131 S.W.3d at 242. "[W]e will not speculate as to the arguments that could have been brought, or attempt to make those arguments for them." Mohammed, 131 S.W.3d at 242. We do note, however, that the affidavits in question provided the affiants' subjective interpretation of a quote printed in a newspaper, but "[t]he appropriate inquiry [in this type of case] is objective, not subjective." New Times, Inc. v. Issacks, 146 S.W.3d 144, 157-58 (Tex. 2004). Even if we broadly construed appellants' issue as challenging the summary judgment, appellants have failed to provide a clear and concise argument on each of the grounds presented in the motion for summary judgment that could have served as the basis for the trial court's ruling. Wortham v. Dow Chem. Co., 179 S.W.3d 189, 198 (Tex. App.--Houston [14th Dist.] 2005, no pet.) (noting argument must be presented on each ground asserted in the summary judgment motion); Smith v. Tilton, 3 S.W.3d 77, 83 (Tex. App.--Dallas 1999, no pet.) (noting appellate court must affirm if appellant does not properly challenge each ground upon which summary judgment could be granted).

The trial court's judgment is affirmed.

Phylis J. Speedlin, Justice