CACI 3117 Financial Abuse—Undue Influence Explained

California Civil Jury Instructions CACI

3117 Financial Abuse—“Undue Influence” Explained

“Undue influence” means excessive persuasion that overcomes another person’s free will and causes the person to do something or to not do something that causes an unfair result. In determining whether [name of defendant] exerted undue influence on [name of plaintiff], you must consider all of the following:

a.[Name of plaintiff]’s vulnerability. Factors to consider may include, but are not limited to, [incapacity/illness/disability/ injury/age/education/impaired mental abilities/emotional distress/isolation/ [or] dependency], and whether [name of defendant] knew or should have known of [name of plaintiff]’s vulnerability.

b.[Name of defendant]’s apparent authority. Factors to consider may include, but are not limited to, [name of defendant]’s position as a [fiduciary/family member/care provider/health care professional/legal professional/spiritual adviser/expert/ [or] [specify other position]].

c.The actions or tactics that [name of defendant] used. Actions or tactics used may include, but are not limited to, all of the following:

[(1)Controlling [name of plaintiff]’s necessaries of life, medications, interactions with others, access to information, or sleep;]

[(2)Using affection, intimidation, or coercion;].

[(3)Initiating changes in personal or property rights, using haste or secrecy in making those changes, making changes at inappropriate times and places, and claiming expertise in making changes.]

d.The unfairness of the result. Factors to consider may include, but are not limited to, [the economic consequences to [name of plaintiff]/any change from [name of plaintiff]’s prior intent or course of conduct or dealing/the relationship between any value that [name of plaintiff] gave up to the value of any services or other consideration that [name of plaintiff] received/ [or] the appropriateness of the change in light of the length and nature of the relationship between [name of plaintiff] and [name of defendant]].

Evidence of an unfair result, without more, is not enough to prove undue influence.

Directions for Use

Give this instruction with CACI No. 3100, Financial Abuse—Essential Factual Elements, if undue influence is alleged in element 3 of No. 3100. The instruction assumes that the person alleged to be exerting undue influence is a named defendant. Insert that person’s name for “[name of defendant]” throughout even if the person is not a named defendant. Select relevant evidence in each of the factors.

Sources and Authority

Undue Influence for Elder or Dependent Adult Abuse. Welfare and Institutions Code section 15610.70.

“During the pendency of this appeal, the Legislature amended Welfare and Institutions Code section 15610.30, subdivision (a)(3) replacing ‘by undue influence, as defined in Section 1575 of the Civil Code’ with ‘by undue influence, as defined in Section 15610.70.’ The Legislature added a new section 15610.70 to the Welfare and Institutions Code, defining undue influence as ‘excessive persuasion that causes another person to act or refrain from acting by overcoming that person’s free will and results in inequity,’ and listing factors to be considered in making an undue influence determination under section 15610.30. … Although the new reference to ‘excessive persuasion’ may not be entirely clear, perhaps calling to mind Aristophanes’s Lysistrata, the Legislature declared that the newly applied definition is not intended to supersede or interfere with the common law meaning of undue influence.” (Lintz v. Lintz (2014) 222 Cal.App.4th 1346, 1356 fn.3 [167 Cal.Rptr.3d 50], internal citations omitted.)

Secondary Sources

5 Witkin, Summary of California Law (11th ed. 2017), Torts § 80
Balisok, Elder Abuse Litigation, §§ 5:1, 22:9–22:12 (The Rutter Group)
30 California Forms of Pleading and Practice, Ch. 5, Abuse of Minors and Elderly, § 5.49 (Matthew Bender)