CACI 3903L Damage to Personal Property Having Special Value (Civ. Code, § 3355) (Economic Damage)

California Civil Jury Instructions CACI

3903L Damage to Personal Property Having Special Value (Civ. Code, § 3355) (Economic Damage)

[Insert number, e.g., “12.”] The unique value of [name of plaintiff]’s [item of personal property].

To recover damages for the unique value, [name of plaintiff] must prove all of the following:

1.That the [item of personal property] had some market value;

2.That the [item of personal property] had unique value to [name of plaintiff]; and

3.[That [name of defendant] had notice of this unique value before the harm;]


[That [name of defendant]’s conduct was intentional and wrongful.]

No fixed standard exists for deciding the amount of this value. You must use your judgment to decide a reasonable amount based on the evidence and your common sense.

Directions for Use

The judge should determine whether the peculiar value claimed by the plaintiff is legally sufficient. While the subcommittee been unable to locate cases that state this rule explicitly, cases have upheld the giving of this type of instruction where there is substantial evidence of peculiar value.

Sources and Authority

Damages for Loss of Property With Special Value. Civil Code section 3355.

“[T]his section deals with property which has a market value and also a peculiar value to the owner, and not with property having no market value.” (Zvolanek v. Bodger Seeds, Ltd. (1935) 5 Cal.App.2d 106, 110 [42 P.2d 92].)

“Peculiar value under Civil Code section 3355 refers to a property’s unique economic value, not its sentimental or emotional value.” (McMahon v. Craig (2009) 176 Cal.App.4th 1502, 1518 [97 Cal.Rptr.3d 555] [“peculiar value” refers to special characteristics that increase an animal’s monetary value, not its abstract value as a companion to its owner].)

“[T]he question of whether plaintiff proved ‘peculiar value’ was a factual question for the determination of the jury and that question was properly submitted to it for decision.” (King v. Karpe (1959) 170 Cal.App.2d 344, 349 [338 P.2d 979].)

Secondary Sources

California Tort Damages (Cont.Ed.Bar) Vehicles and Other Personal Property, § 13.7
4 Levy et al., California Torts, Ch. 52, Medical Expenses and Economic Loss, § 52.33 (Matthew Bender)
15 California Forms of Pleading and Practice, Ch. 177, Damages, § 177.47 (Matthew Bender)
California Civil Practice: Torts § 5:17 (Thomson Reuters)