California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI)

104. Nonperson Party

A [corporation/partnership/city/county/[other entity]], [name of entity], is a party in this lawsuit. [Name of entity] is entitled to the same fair and impartial treatment that you would give to an individual. You must decide this case with the same fairness that you would use if you were deciding the case between individuals.

When I use words like “person” or “he” or “she” in these instructions to refer to a party, those instructions also apply to [name of entity].

New September 2003

Directions for Use

This instruction should be given as an introductory instruction if one of the parties is an entity. Select the type of entity and insert the name of the entity where indicated in the instruction.

Sources and Authority

  • Corporations Code section 207 provides that a corporation “shall have all of the powers of a natural person in carrying out its business activities.” Civil Code section 14 defines the word “person,” for purposes of that code, to include corporations as well as natural persons.
  • As a general rule, a corporation is considered to be a legal entity that has an existence separate from that of its shareholders. (Erkenbrecher v. Grant (1921) 187 Cal. 7, 9 [200 P. 641].)
  • “In general, any person or entity has capacity to sue or defend a civil action in the California courts. This includes artificial ‘persons’ such as corporations, partnerships and associations.” (American Alternative Energy Partners II, 1985 v. Windridge, Inc. (1996) 42 Cal.App.4th 551, 559 [49 Cal.Rptr.2d 686], internal citations omitted.)

Secondary Sources

9 Witkin, Summary of California Law (10th ed. 2005) Corporations, § 1, p. 775

1 Matthew Bender Practice Guide: California Pretrial Civil Procedure, Ch. 5, Parties, 5.13–5.17