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In re B.L.D (2003) – Case Brief Summary (Texas)

In In re B.L.D., 113 S.W.3d 340 (Tex. 2003) the Court recognized that, despite the fact that the fundamental-error doctrine has been labeled "'discredited,'" id. at 350.

The doctrine has been employed in "rare instances" to review "certain types" of unpreserved or unassigned error in civil cases. Id.

For example, the doctrine has been invoked to review unpreserved issues regarding:

(1) whether the record shows on its face that the trial court lacked jurisdiction, id.

(2) the failure to give mandatory statutory admonishments in a juvenile delinquency proceeding, id.

(3) the constitutionality of the burden of proof instruction in a juvenile delinquency proceeding, id.

The Court noted that its application of the fundamental-error doctrine in the latter two cases rested on the "quasi-criminal" nature of juvenile delinquency cases. Id.

In B.L.D., the supreme court declined to extend the fundamental-error doctrine to jury charge error in parental termination cases. See id. at 351.