CACI 3904A Present Cash Value
California Civil Jury Instructions CACI
3904A Present Cash Value
[Name of defendant] claims that [name of plaintiff]’s future [economic] damages for [loss of earnings/future medical expenses/lost profits/[insert other economic damages]], if any, should be reduced to present cash value. This is because money received now will, through investment, grow to a larger amount in the future. Present cash value is the amount of money that, if reasonably invested today, will provide [name of plaintiff] with the amount of [his/her/nonbinary pronoun/its] future damages.
[[Name of defendant] must prove, through expert testimony, the present cash value of [name of plaintiff]’s future [economic] damages. It is up to you to decide the present cash value of [name of plaintiff]’s future [economic] damages in light of all the evidence presented by the parties.]
[If you decide that [name of plaintiff]’s harm includes future [economic] damages for [loss of earnings/future medical expenses/lost profits/[insert other economic damages]], then you must reduce the amount of those future damages to their present cash value. You must [use the interest rate of percent/ [and] [specify other stipulated information]] as agreed to by the parties in determining the present cash value of future [economic] damages.]
New September 2003; Revised April 2008; Revised and renumbered from former CACI No. 3904 December 2010; Revised June 2013, May 2020, May 2021
Directions for Use
Give this instruction if future economic damages are sought and there is evidence from which a reduction to present value can be made. Include “economic” if future noneconomic damages are also sought. Future noneconomic damages are not reduced to present cash value because the amount that the jury is to award should already encompass the idea of today’s dollars for tomorrow’s loss. (See Salgado v. County of Los Angeles (1998) 19 Cal.4th 629, 646–647 [80 Cal.Rptr.2d 46, 967 P.2d 585]; CACI No. 3905A, Physical Pain, Mental Suffering, and Emotional Distress (Noneconomic Damage).)
The defendant bears the burden of presenting expert evidence of an appropriate present value calculation, including the appropriate discount rate, to enable the fact finder to make a rational determination on the issue. (Lewis v. Ukran (2019) 36 Cal.App.5th 886, 896 [248 Cal.Rptr.3d 839].) Unless there is a stipulation, expert testimony is required to accurately establish present values for future economic losses. (Id.)
Give the last bracketed paragraph if there has been a stipulation as to the interest rate to use or any other facts related to present cash value, and omit the second paragraph to account for the parties’ stipulation.
The parties may stipulate to use present-value tables to assist the jury in making its determination of present cash value. Tables, worksheets, and an instruction on how to use them are provided in CACI No. 3904B, Use of Present-Value Tables.
Sources and Authority
•“The present value of a gross award of future damages is that sum of money prudently invested at the time of judgment which will return, over the period the future damages are incurred, the gross amount of the award. ‘The concept of present value recognizes that money received after a given period is worth less than the same amount received today. This is the case in part because money received today can be used to generate additional value in the interim.’ The present value of an award of future damages will vary depending on the gross amount of the award, and the timing and amount of the individual payments.” (Holt v. Regents of the University of California (1999) 73 Cal.App.4th 871, 878 [86 Cal.Rptr.2d 752], internal citations omitted.)
•“[I]n a contested case, a party (typically a defendant) seeking to reduce an award of future damages to present value bears the burden of proving an appropriate method of doing so, including an appropriate discount rate. A party (typically a plaintiff) who seeks an upward adjustment of a future damages award to account for inflation bears the burden of proving an appropriate method of doing so, including an appropriate inflation rate. This aligns the burdens of proof with the parties’ respective economic interests. A trier of fact should not reduce damages to present value, or adjust for inflation, absent such evidence or a stipulation of the parties.” (Lewis, supra, 36 Cal.App.5th at p. 889.)
•“[W]e hold a defendant seeking reduction to present value of a sum awarded for future damages has the burden of presenting expert evidence of an appropriate present value calculation, including the appropriate discount rate, to enable the fact finder to make a rational determination on the issue.” (Lewis, supra, 36 Cal.App.5th at p. 896.)
•“Exact actuarial computation should result in a lump-sum, present-value award which if prudently invested will provide the beneficiaries with an investment return allowing them to regularly withdraw matching support money so that, by reinvesting the surplus earnings during the earlier years of the expected support period, they may maintain the anticipated future support level throughout the period and, upon the last withdrawal, have depleted both principal and interest.” (Canavin v. Pacific Southwest Airlines (1983) 148 Cal.App.3d 512, 521 [196 Cal.Rptr. 82].)
•“[I]t is not a violation of the plaintiff’s jury trial right for the court to submit only the issue of the gross amount of future economic damages to the jury, with the timing of periodic payments—and hence their present value—to be set by the court in the exercise of its sound discretion.” (Salgado, supra, 19 Cal.4th at p. 649, internal citation omitted.)
•“Neither party introduced any evidence of compounding or discounting factors, including how to calculate an appropriate rate of return throughout the relevant years. Under such circumstances, the ‘jury would have been put to sheer speculation in determining … “the present sum of money which … will pay to the plaintiff … the equivalent of his [future economic] loss … .” ’ ” (Schiernbeck v. Haight (1992) 7 Cal.App.4th 869, 877 [9 Cal.Rptr.2d 716], internal citations omitted.)