CACI 5009 Predeliberation Instructions

California Civil Jury Instructions CACI

5009 Predeliberation Instructions

When you go to the jury room, the first thing you should do is choose a presiding juror. The presiding juror should see to it that your discussions are orderly and that everyone has a fair chance to be heard.

It is your duty to talk with one another in the jury room and to consider the views of all the jurors. Each of you must decide the case for yourself, but only after you have considered the evidence with the other members of the jury. Feel free to change your mind if you are convinced that your position should be different. You should all try to agree. But do not give up your honest beliefs just because the others think differently.

Please do not state your opinions too strongly at the beginning of your deliberations or immediately announce how you plan to vote as it may interfere with an open discussion. Keep an open mind so that you and your fellow jurors can easily share ideas about the case.

You should use your common sense and experience in deciding whether testimony is true and accurate. However, during your deliberations, do not make any statements or provide any information to other jurors based on any special training or unique personal experiences that you may have had related to matters involved in this case. What you may know or have learned through your training or experience is not a part of the evidence received in this case.

Sometimes jurors disagree or have questions about the evidence or about what the witnesses said in their testimony. If that happens, you may ask to have testimony read back to you [or ask to see any exhibits admitted into evidence that have not already been provided to you]. Also, jurors may need further explanation about the laws that apply to the case. If this happens during your discussions, write down your questions and give them to the [clerk/bailiff/court attendant]. I will talk with the attorneys before I answer so it may take some time. You should continue your deliberations while you wait for my answer. I will do my best to answer them. When you write me a note, do not tell me how you voted on an issue until I ask for this information in open court.

Your decision must be based on your personal evaluation of the evidence presented in the case. Each of you may be asked in open court how you voted on each question.

While I know you would not do this, I am required to advise you that you must not base your decision on chance, such as a flip of a coin. If you decide to award damages, you may not agree in advance to simply add up the amounts each juror thinks is right and then, without further deliberations, make the average your verdict.

You may take breaks, but do not discuss this case with anyone, including each other, until all of you are back in the jury room.

New September 2003; Revised April 2004, October 2004, February 2007, December 2009, June 2011, June 2013, May 2019

Crowdsource Lawyers

Directions for Use

The advisory committee recommends that this instruction be read to the jury after closing arguments and after reading instructions on the substantive law.

If a special verdict will be used, give CACI No. 5012, Introduction to Special Verdict Form. If a general verdict is to be used, give CACI No. 5022, Introduction to General Verdict Form.

Judges may want to provide each juror with a copy of the verdict form so that the jurors can use it to keep track of how they vote. Jurors can be instructed that this copy is for their personal use only and that the presiding juror will be given the official verdict form to record the jury’s decision. Judges may also want to advise jurors that they may be polled in open court regarding their individual verdicts.

Delete the reference to reading back testimony if the proceedings are not being recorded.

Sources and Authority

Conduct of Jury Deliberations. Code of Civil Procedure section 613.

Further Instructions After Deliberation Begins. Code of Civil Procedure section 614.

Verdict Requires Three Fourths. Code of Civil Procedure section 618, article I, section 16, of the California Constitution.

Juror Misconduct as Grounds for New Trial. Code of Civil Procedure section 657.

“Chance is the ‘hazard, risk, or the result or issue of uncertain and unknown conditions or forces.’ Verdicts reached by tossing a coin, drawing lots, or any other form of gambling are examples of improper chance verdicts. ‘The more sophisticated device of the quotient verdict is equally improper: The jurors agree to be bound by an average of their views; each writes the amount he favors on a slip of paper; the sums are added and divided by 12, and the resulting “quotient” pursuant to the prior agreement, is accepted as the verdict without further deliberation or consideration of its fairness.’ ” (Chronakis v. Windsor (1993) 14 Cal.App.4th 1058, 1064 [18 Cal.Rptr.2d 106], original italics.)

“ ‘[T]here is no impropriety in the jurors making an average of their individual estimates as to the amount of damages for the purpose of arriving at a basis for discussion and consideration, nor in adopting such average if it is subsequently agreed to by the jurors; but to agree beforehand to adopt such average and abide by the agreement, without further discussion or deliberation, is fatal to the verdict.’ ” (Chronakissupra, 14 Cal.App.4th at p. 1066.)

Jurors should be encouraged to deliberate on the case. (Vomaska v. City of San Diego (1997) 55 Cal.App.4th 905, 911 [64 Cal.Rptr.2d 492].)

The jurors may properly be advised of the duty to hear and consider each other’s arguments with open minds, rather than preventing agreement by stubbornly sticking to their first impressions. (Cook v. Los Angeles Ry. Corp. (1939) 13 Cal.2d 591, 594 [91 P.2d 118].)

“The trial court properly denied the motion for new trial on the ground that [the plaintiff] did not demonstrate the jury reached a chance or quotient verdict. The jury agreed on a high and a low figure and, before calculating an average, they further agreed to adjust downward the high figure and to adjust upward the low figure. There is no evidence that this average was adopted without further consideration or that the jury agreed at any time to adopt an average and abide by the agreement without further discussion or deliberation.” (Lara v. Nevitt (2004) 123 Cal.App.4th 454, 462–463 [19 Cal.Rptr.3d 865].)

“It is not improper for a juror, regardless of his or her educational or employment background, to express an opinion on a technical subject, so long as the opinion is based on the evidence at trial. Jurors’ views of the evidence, moreover, are necessarily informed by their life experiences, including their education and professional work. A juror, however, should not discuss an opinion explicitly based on specialized information obtained from outside sources. Such injection of external information in the form of a juror’s own claim to expertise or specialized knowledge of a matter at issue is misconduct.” (In re Malone (1996) 12 Cal.4th 935, 963 [50 Cal.Rptr.2d 281, 911 P.2d 468].)

“[The juror]’s comments to the jury, in the nature of an expert opinion concerning the placement of crossing gate ‘sensors,’ their operation, and the consequent reason why gates had not been or could not be installed at the J-crossing, constituted misconduct … . Speaking with the authority of a professional transportation consultant, [the juror] interjected the subject of ‘sensors,’ on which there had been no evidence at trial.” (McDonald v. S. Pac. Transp. Co. (1999) 71 Cal.App.4th 256, 263–264 [83 Cal.Rptr.2d 734].)

“Jurors cannot, without violation of their oath, receive or communicate to fellow jurors information from sources outside the evidence in the case. ‘[It] is misconduct for a juror during the trial to discuss the matter under investigation outside the court or to receive any information on the subject of the litigation except in open court and in the manner provided by law. Such misconduct unless shown by the prevailing party to have been harmless will invalidate the verdict.’ ” (Smith v. Covell (1980) 100 Cal.App.3d 947, 952–953 [161 Cal.Rptr. 377], original italics, internal citations omitted.)

“ ‘All the jurors, including those with relevant personal backgrounds, were entitled to consider this evidence and express opinions regarding it. “[I]t is an impossible standard to require … [the jury] to be a laboratory, completely sterilized and freed from any external factors.” [Citation.] “It is ‘virtually impossible to shield jurors from every contact or influence that might theoretically affect their vote.’ ” [Citation.] A juror may not express opinions based on asserted personal expertise that is different from or contrary to the law as the trial court stated it or to the evidence, but if we allow jurors with specialized knowledge to sit on a jury, and we do, we must allow those jurors to use their experience in evaluating and interpreting that evidence. Moreover, during the give and take of deliberations, it is virtually impossible to divorce completely one’s background from one’s analysis of the evidence. We cannot demand that jurors, especially lay jurors not versed in the subtle distinctions that attorneys draw, never refer to their background during deliberations. “Jurors are not automatons. They are imbued with human frailties as well as virtues.” [Citation.]’ ” (People v. Allen and Johnson (2011) 53 Cal.4th 60, 77 [133 Cal.Rptr.3d 548, 264 P.3d 336], original italics.)

Secondary Sources

7 Witkin, California Procedure (5th ed. 2008) Trial, §§ 318, 321, 380
Wegner et al., California Practice Guide: Civil Trials & Evidence, Ch. 15-A, General Considerations, ¶ 15:15 et seq. (The Rutter Group)
4 California Trial Guide, Unit 91, Jury Deliberations and Rendition of Verdict, § 91.01 (Matthew Bender)
28 California Forms of Pleading and Practice, Ch. 326, Jury Instructions, § 326.32[3] (Matthew Bender)
28 California Forms of Pleading and Practice, Ch. 326A, Jury Verdicts, § 326A.14 (Matthew Bender)
1 Matthew Bender Practice Guide: California Trial and Post-Trial Civil Procedure, Ch. 17, Dealing With the Jury, 17.33
California Judges Benchbook: Civil Proceedings—Trial §§ 13.8, 13.32, 13.50, 13.53, 13.59, 14.6, 14.21 (Cal CJER 2019)