CACI 3114 “Malice” Explained
California Civil Jury Instructions CACI
3114 “Malice” Explained
“Malice” means that [[name of individual defendant]/[name of employer defendant]’s employee] acted with intent to cause injury or that [his/her/nonbinary pronoun] conduct was despicable and was done with a willful and knowing disregard of the rights or safety of another. A person acts with knowing disregard when the person is aware of the probable dangerous consequences of the person’s conduct and deliberately fails to avoid those consequences.
“Despicable conduct” is conduct that is so vile, base, or contemptible that it would be looked down on and despised by reasonable people.
New September 2003; Revised October 2008, May 2020
Directions for Use
If the individual responsible for the elder abuse is a defendant in the case, use “[name of individual defendant].” If only the individual’s employer is a defendant, use “[name of employer defendant]’s employee.”
Sources and Authority
•“Malice” for Punitive Damages Defined. Civil Code section 3294(c)(1).
•“Used in its ordinary sense, the adjective ‘despicable’ is a powerful term that refers to circumstances that are ‘base,’ ‘vile,’ or ‘contemptible.’ As amended to include this word, the statute plainly indicates that absent an intent to injure the plaintiff, ‘malice’ requires more than a ‘willful and conscious’ disregard of the plaintiffs’ interests. The additional component of ‘despicable conduct’ must be found.” (College Hospital, Inc. v. Superior Court (1994) 8 Cal.4th 704, 725 [34 Cal.Rptr.2d 898, 882 P.2d 894], internal citations omitted.)
•“Under the statute, ‘malice does not require actual intent to harm. [Citation.] Conscious disregard for the safety of another may be sufficient where the defendant is aware of the probable dangerous consequences of his or her conduct and he or she willfully fails to avoid such consequences. [Citation.] Malice may be proved either expressly through direct evidence or by implication through indirect evidence from which the jury draws inferences. [Citation.]’ ” (Pfeifer v. John Crane, Inc. (2013) 220 Cal.App.4th 1270, 1299 [164 Cal.Rptr.3d 112].)