CACI 411 Reliance on Good Conduct of Others

California Civil Jury Instructions CACI

411 Reliance on Good Conduct of Others

Every person has a right to expect that every other person will use reasonable care [and will not violate the law], unless that person knows, or should know, that the other person will not use reasonable care [or will violate the law].

Directions for Use

This instruction should not be used if the only other actor is the plaintiff and there is no evidence that the plaintiff acted unreasonably. (Springer v. Reimers (1970) 4 Cal.App.3d 325, 336 [84 Cal.Rptr. 486].)

Sources and Authority

“[E]very person has a right to presume that every other person will perform his duty and obey the law and in the absence of reasonable grounds to think otherwise, it is not negligence to assume that he is not exposed to danger which could come to him only from violation of law or duty by such other person.” (Celli v. Sports Car Club of America, Inc. (1972) 29 Cal.App.3d 511, 523 [105 Cal.Rptr. 904].)

“However, this rule does not extend to a person who is not exercising ordinary care, nor to one who knows or, by the exercise of such care, would know that the law is not being observed.” (Malone v. Perryman (1964) 226 Cal.App.2d 227, 234 [37 Cal.Rptr. 864].)

“[CACI No. 411] is a pattern jury instruction designed for use in civil negligence cases involving a plaintiff suing a defendant for failing to prevent harm caused by a third party. The principle it espouses is essentially that a defendant will not be liable for harm caused by a third party’s negligent or criminal conduct, unless the third party’s conduct was foreseeable … .” (People v. Elder (2017) 11 Cal.App.5th 123, 135 [217 Cal.Rptr.3d 493].)

“[Defendant], if exercising ordinary care himself, was entitled to assume that plaintiff’s employer had furnished to plaintiff a safe place within which to work and he could further assume that the plaintiff would reasonably use the protection afforded to him by the employer.” (Tucker v. Lombardo (1956) 47 Cal.2d 457, 467 [303 P.2d 1041] [approved language in jury instruction].)

“If there is evidence on both sides of the question as to whether the conduct of a third person is or is not foreseeable, the jury instruction is correct. Its application or effect will depend on the finding of the jury as to whether the act of the third person should have been anticipated or foreseen.” (Whitton v. State of California (1979) 98 Cal.App.3d 235, 246 [159 Cal.Rptr. 405].)

“If the likelihood that a third person may act in a particular manner is the hazard or one of the hazards which makes the actor negligent, such an act whether innocent, negligent, intentionally tortious, or criminal does not prevent the actor from being liable for harm caused thereby.” (Bigbee v. Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Co. (1983) 34 Cal.3d 49, 58 [192 Cal.Rptr. 857, 665 P.2d 947]; see also Rest.2d Torts, § 449.)

“Foreseeability, when analyzed to determine the existence or scope of a duty, is a question of law to be decided by the court.” (Ann M. v. Pacific Plaza Shopping Center (1993) 6 Cal.4th 666, 678 [25 Cal.Rptr.2d 137, 863 P.2d 207], disapproved on other grounds in Reid v. Google Inc. (2010) 50 Cal.4th 512, 527 fn. 5 [113 Cal.Rptr.3d 327, 235 P.3d 988].)

Secondary Sources

6 Witkin, Summary of California Law (11th ed. 2017) Torts, §§ 1468–1470
1 Levy et al., California Torts, Ch. 1, Negligence, § 1.02 (Matthew Bender)
4 California Trial Guide, Unit 90, Closing Argument, §§ 90.88, 90.90 (Matthew Bender)
California Products Liability Actions, Ch. 2, Liability for Defective Products, § 2.21 (Matthew Bender)
33 California Forms of Pleading and Practice, Ch. 380, Negligence, § 380.51 (Matthew Bender)
16 California Points and Authorities, Ch. 165, Negligence, § 165.120 et seq. (Matthew Bender)