CACI 1304 Affirmative Defense—Self-Defense/Defense of Others
California Civil Jury Instructions CACI
1304 Affirmative Defense—Self-Defense/Defense of Others
[Name of defendant] claims that [he/she/nonbinary pronoun] is not responsible for [name of plaintiff]’s harm because [he/she/nonbinary pronoun] was acting in [self-defense/defense of another]. To succeed, [name of defendant] must prove both of the following:
1.That [name of defendant] reasonably believed that [name of plaintiff] was going to harm [him/her/nonbinary pronoun/[insert identification of other person]]; and
2.That [name of defendant] used only the amount of force that was reasonably necessary to protect [himself/herself/nonbinary pronoun/[insert identification of other person]].
New September 2003; Revised June 2014
Sources and Authority
•Self Defense. Civil Code section 50.
•“When an alleged act of self-defense … is at issue, the question of what force was reasonable and justified is peculiarly one for determination by the trier of fact.” (Burton v. Sanner (2012) 207 Cal.App.4th 12, 14 [142 Cal.Rptr.3d 782], original italics.)
•“Self-defense being an affirmative defense, it must, in a civil action, be established by the defendant by a preponderance of the evidence.” (Bartosh v. Banning (1967) 251 Cal.App.2d 378, 386 [59 Cal.Rptr. 382].)
•“In a suit for assault and battery, the defendant is not liable if that defendant reasonably believed, in view of all the circumstances of the case, that the plaintiff was going to harm him or her and the defendant used only the amount of force reasonably necessary to protect himself or herself.” (J.J. v. M.F. (2014) 223 Cal.App.4th 968, 976 [167 Cal.Rptr.3d 670] [citing this instruction].)
•“The right to use force against another has long been limited by the condition that the force be no more than ‘ “that which reasonably appears necessary, in view of all the circumstances of the case, to prevent the impending injury.” ‘When the amount of force used is justifiable under the circumstances, it is not willful and the actor may escape liability for intentionally injurious conduct that is otherwise actionable. But if force is applied in excess of that which is justified, the actor remains subject to liability for the damages resulting from the excessive use of force. … When an alleged act of self-defense or defense of property is at issue, the question of what force was reasonable and justified is peculiarly one for determination by the trier of fact.” (Calvillo-Silva v. Home Grocery (1998) 19 Cal.4th 714, 730–731 [80 Cal.Rptr.2d 506, 968 P.2d 65], internal citations omitted.)
•“The right of self-defense is not limited by actualities. The correct rule … [is]: ‘Generally … , the force that one may use in self-defense is that which reasonably appears necessary, in view of all the circumstances of the case, to prevent the impending injury.’ In emphasizing that the law of self-defense is a law of necessity courts should never lose sight of the fact that the necessity may be either real or apparent.” (Vaughn v. Jonas (1948) 31 Cal.2d 586, 599–600 [191 P.2d 432], internal citations omitted.)
•“The reasonableness standard is an objective standard.” (Burton, supra, 207 Cal.App.4th at p. 20.)