California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI)

1224. Negligence—Negligence for Product Rental/Standard of Care

[A person who rents products to others for money is negligent if he or she fails to use reasonable care to:

1. Inspect the products for defects;

2. Make them safe for their intended use; and

3. Adequately warn of any known dangers.]


[A person who lends products to others without charge only is required to use reasonable care to warn of known defects.]

New September 2003

Directions for Use

Use this instruction in conjunction with CACI No. 1220, Negligence—Essential Factual Elements, and instead of CACI No. 1221, Negligence—Basic Standard of Care, in cases involving rentals.

If the case involves a product lent gratuitously for the mutual benefit of the parties (e.g., to a prospective purchaser), the first paragraph is applicable and the instruction needs to be modified.

In a purely gratuitous lending case, if the object is a “dangerous instrumentality” there may be a duty to conduct a reasonable inspection before lending. (See Tierstein v. Licht (1959) 174 Cal.App.2d 835, 842 [345 P.2d 341].)

Sources and Authority

  • If a bailment is for hire, or provides a mutual benefit, the bailor has a duty to the bailee and to third persons to (1) warn of actually known defects and (2) to use reasonable care to make an examination of the good before lending it “in order to make certain that it [is] fit for the use known to be intended.” (Tierstein, supra, 174 Cal.App.2d at pp. 840–841.)
  • A bailment, otherwise gratuitous, where made to induce a purchase, has been considered sufficient to give rise to the same duty of reasonable care on the part of the bailor as an ordinary bailment for hire. This is regarded as a bailment for mutual benefit. (Tierstein, supra, 174 Cal.App.2d at p. 842.)
  • Under either a negligence or an implied warranty theory, “the essential inquiry . . . is whether [the defendants] made such inspection of their equipment as was necessary to discharge their duty of reasonable care.” (McNeal v. Greenberg (1953) 40 Cal.2d 740, 742 [255 P.2d 810].) The bailor is not an insurer or guarantor. (Tierstein, supra, 174 Cal.App.2d at p. 841.)
  • Civil Code section 1955 provides: “Except as otherwise agreed by the lessor and the lessee in lease agreements for a term of more than 20 days, one who leases personal property must deliver it to the lessee, secure his or her quiet enjoyment thereof against all lawful claimants, put it into a condition fit for the purpose for which he or she leases it, and repair all deteriorations thereof not occasioned by the fault of the lessee and not the natural result of its use.”
  • Restatement Second of Torts, section 408, provides: “One who leases a chattel as safe for immediate use is subject to liability to those whom he should expect to use the chattel, or to be endangered by its probable use, for physical harm caused by its use in a manner for which, and by a person for whose use, it is leased, if the lessor fails to exercise reasonable care to make it safe for such use or to disclose its actual condition to those who may be expected to use it.”
  • This Restatement section was cited with approval in Rae v. California Equipment Co. (1939) 12 Cal.2d 563, 569 [86 P.2d 352].
  • “The general rule is that the only duty which a gratuitous bailor owes either to the bailee or to third persons is to warn them of actually known defects which render the chattel dangerous for the purpose for which it is ordinarily used; he has no liability for injuries caused by defects in the subject matter of the bailment of which he was not aware.” (Tierstein, supra, 174 Cal.App.2d at p. 841.)