California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI)

1000. Premises Liability—Essential Factual Elements

[Name of plaintiff] claims that [he/she] was harmed because of the way [name of defendant] managed [his/her/its] property. To establish this claim, [name of plaintiff] must prove all of the following:

1. That [name of defendant] [owned/leased/occupied/controlled] the property;

2. That [name of defendant] was negligent in the use or maintenance of the property;

3. That [name of plaintiff] was harmed; and

4. That [name of defendant]’s negligence was a substantial factor in causing [name of plaintiff]’s harm.

New September 2003; Revised June 2005, December 2011

Directions for Use

For cases involving public entity defendants, see instructions on dangerous conditions of public property (CACI No. 1100 et seq.).

Sources and Authority

  • Civil Code section 1714(a) provides in part: “Everyone is responsible, not only for the result of his or her willful acts, but also for an injury occasioned to another by his or her want of ordinary care or skill in the management of his or her property or person, except so far as the latter has, willfully or by want of ordinary care, brought the injury upon himself or herself.”
  • “Since Rowland v. Christian (1968) 69 Cal.2d 108 [70 Cal.Rptr. 97, 443 P.2d 561], the liability of landowners for injuries to people on their property has been governed by general negligence principles.” (Pineda v. Ennabe (1998) 61
  • Cal.App.4th 1403, 1407 [72 Cal.Rptr.2d 206].)
  • “Premises liability is a form of negligence based on the holding in Rowland v. Christian, supra, 69 Cal.2d 108, and is described as follows: The owner of premises is under a duty to exercise ordinary care in the management of such premises in order to avoid exposing persons to an unreasonable risk of harm. A failure to fulfill this duty is negligence.” (Brooks v. Eugene Burger Management Corp. (1989) 215 Cal.App.3d 1611, 1619 [264 Cal.Rptr. 756].)
  • “[T]he duty to take affirmative action for the protection of individuals coming upon the land is grounded in the possession of the premises and the attendant right to control and manage the premises.” (Sprecher v. Adamson Companies (1981) 30 Cal.3d 358, 368 [178 Cal.Rptr. 783, 636 P.2d 1121].)
  • “ ‘[P]roperty owners are liable for injuries on land they own, possess, or control.’ But . . . the phrase ‘own, possess, or control’ is stated in the alternative. A defendant need not own, possess and control property in order to be held liable; control alone is sufficient.” (Alcaraz v. Vece (1997) 14 Cal.4th 1149, 1162 [60 Cal.Rptr.2d 448, 929 P.2d 1239], original italics, internal citations omitted.)

Secondary Sources

6 Witkin, Summary of California Law (10th ed. 2005) Torts, §§ 1082–1086

1 Levy et al., California Torts, Ch. 15, General Premises Liability, § 15.01 (Matthew Bender)

6 California Real Estate Law and Practice, Ch. 170, The Premises: Duties and

Liabilities, §§ 170.01, 170.20 (Matthew Bender)

11 California Real Estate Law and Practice, Ch. 381, Tort Liability of Property Owners, § 381.01 (Matthew Bender)

36 California Forms of Pleading and Practice, Ch. 421, Premises Liability, § 421.11 (Matthew Bender)

17 California Points and Authorities, Ch. 178, Premises Liability, § 178.20 et seq. (Matthew Bender)

1 California Civil Practice: Torts §§ 16:1–16:3 (Thomson Reuters West)