CACI 3902 Economic and Noneconomic Damages

California Civil Jury Instructions CACI

3902 Economic and Noneconomic Damages

The damages claimed by [name of plaintiff] for the harm caused by [name of defendant] fall into two categories called economic damages and noneconomic damages. You will be asked on the verdict form to state the two categories of damages separately.

Directions for Use

This instruction may not be necessary in every case.

Sources and Authority

Proposition 51. Civil Code section 1431.2.

MICRA Limitation on Noneconomic Damages From Health Care Provider. Civil Code section 3333.2.

The Supreme Court has noted that section 1431.2 “carefully” defines the “important distinction” between economic and noneconomic damages. (DaFonte v. Up-Right, Inc. (1992) 2 Cal.4th 593, 600 [7 Cal.Rptr.2d 238, 828 P.2d 140].) The court stated: “Proposition 51 … retains the joint liability of all tortfeasors, regardless of their respective shares of fault, with respect to all objectively provable expenses and monetary losses. On the other hand, the more intangible and subjective categories of damages were limited by Proposition 51 to a rule of strict proportionate liability. With respect to these noneconomic damages, the plaintiff alone now assumes the risk that a proportionate contribution cannot be obtained from each person responsible for the injury.” (Ibid., internal citation omitted.)

“Proposition 51 … allows an injured plaintiff to recover the full amount of economic damages suffered, regardless of which tortfeaser [sic] or tortfeasors are named as defendants. The tortfeasors are left to sort out payment in proportion to fault amongst themselves, and they must bear the risk of nonrecovery from impecunious tortfeasors. As to noneconomic damages, however, the plaintiff must sue all the tortfeasors to enable a full recovery. Failure to name a defendant will preclude recovery of that defendant’s proportional share of damages, and the plaintiff will bear the risk of nonrecovery from an impecunious tortfeasor.” (Aetna Health Plans of California, Inc. v. Yucaipa-Calimesa Joint Unified School Dist. (1999) 72 Cal.App.4th 1175, 1190 [85 Cal.Rptr.2d 672].)

Secondary Sources

5 Witkin, Summary of California Law (11th ed. 2017) Torts, §§ 159, 169, 170
California Tort Damages (Cont.Ed.Bar) Bodily Injury, § 1.5
4 Levy et al., California Torts, Ch. 74, Resolving Multiparty Tort Litigation, § 74.04 (Matthew Bender)
15 California Forms of Pleading and Practice, Ch. 177, Damages, § 177.44 (Matthew Bender)
6 California Points and Authorities, Ch. 64, Damages: Tort, § 64.20 et seq. (Matthew Bender)
California Civil Practice: Torts § 5:4 (Thomson Reuters)