CACI 4341 Statutory Damages on Showing of Malice (Code Civ. Proc., § 1174(b))

California Civil Jury Instructions CACI

4341 Statutory Damages on Showing of Malice (Code Civ. Proc., § 1174(b))

[Name of plaintiff] claims that [he/she/nonbinary pronoun/it] is entitled to statutory damages in addition to actual damages. To recover statutory damages, [name of plaintiff] must prove that [name of defendant] acted with malice.

A tenant acts with malice if the tenant willfully continues to occupy the property with knowledge that the tenant no longer has the right to do so.

You must determine how much, if any, statutory damages should be awarded, up to a maximum of $600. You should not award any statutory damages if you find that [name of defendant] had a good-faith and a reasonable belief in [his/her/nonbinary pronoun/its] right to continue to occupy the premises.

Sources and Authority

Statutory Damages on Showing of Malice. Code of Civil Procedure section 1174(b).

“The rule appears to be well established in California that a lessee of real property who wilfully, deliberately, intentionally and obstinately withholds possession of the property, with knowledge of the termination of his lease and against the will of the landlord, is liable for [statutory] damages.” (Erbe Corp. v. W & B Realty Co. (1967) 255 Cal.App.2d 773, 780 [63 Cal.Rptr. 462].)

“Authorities … do not hold that the [penalty should be imposed] where the conduct of the tenant is characterized by good faith and a reasonable belief in his right to remain … .” (Board of Public Service Comm’rs v. Spear (1924) 65 Cal.App. 214, 217–218 [223 P.423], internal citations omitted, overruled, other grounds, Richard v. Degen & Brody, Inc. (1960) 181 Cal.App.2d 289, 302–304, 5 Cal.Rptr. 263.)

Secondary Sources

12 Witkin, Summary of California Law (10th ed. 2006) Real Property, § 738
2 California Landlord-Tenant Practice (Cont.Ed.Bar 2d ed.) §§ 12.32–12.34
2 California Eviction Defense Manual (Cont.Ed.Bar 2d ed.) § 26.13
7 California Real Estate Law and Practice, Ch. 210, Unlawful Detainer, § 210.95 (Matthew Bender)
Matthew Bender Practice Guide: California Landlord-Tenant Litigation, Ch. 5, Unlawful Detainer, 5.27
29 California Forms of Pleading and Practice, Ch. 333, Landlord and Tenant: Eviction Actions, § 333.13 (Matthew Bender)
23 California Points and Authorities, Ch. 236, Unlawful Detainer, § 236.22 (Matthew Bender)
Miller & Starr, California Real Estate, Ch. 19, Landlord-Tenant, § 19:208 (Thomson Reuters)