A defendant is not required to object to a plaintiff’s omission of an independent theory of recovery in the jury charge. United Scaffolding, Inc. v. Levine, 537 S.W.3d 463, 481 (Tex. 2017).
But, the broad proclamation in United Scaffolding that a defendant is not required to object that the charge is not “supported by the plaintiff’s pleadings or the evidence adduced at trial,” id., must be kept in context.
This article is on a much deeper topic than the ones Angela and I usually write about. But I think it is one that is important to all of us—more than we commonly realize—and one we seldom think and talk about. Why, as lawyers and judges and future lawyers and judges, should we study the humanities? What do they offer us that we need in our daily personal and professional lives? First of all, the legal system is a structured value system. The positive law—the public laws we write in our legislatures, incorporate in our law codes, and enforce in our legal decisions—can be defined as those values that we as a society have determined to promulgate, to publish, and to enforce as rules of conduct equally applicable to all (affirming equal protection of the law and due process). The law is the embodiment of the ordered rights and liberties that we and our fellow citizens mutually perceive to be essential to advance our common good. If you think about it, each operative concept expressed here—equality, rights, liberty, the common good—is a value concept, indeed a moralconcept. Law reflects what we as citizens of a republic founded on constitutional principles (fundamental value concepts) agree should be the common rules of conduct enforced equally by a government of all upon all and on behalf of all for our mutual safety and happiness (our common good). And when we determine that the law is not fair or just or does not produce good results (value concepts) we change it, using the tools of representative government—government grounded in respect for the equal dignity and worth of every person (the essence of value).