CACI No. VF-1201. Strict Products Liability - Design Defect - Affirmative Defense - Misuse or Modification

Judicial Council of California Civil Jury Instructions (2020 edition)

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VF-1201.Strict Products Liability - Design Defect - Affirmative
Defense - Misuse or Modification
We answer the questions submitted to us as follows:
1. Did [name of defendant] [manufacture/distribute/sell] the
[product]?
1. Yes No
1. If your answer to question 1 is yes, then answer question 2. If you
answered no, stop here, answer no further questions, and have
the presiding juror sign and date this form.
2. Was the [product] [misused/ [or] modified] after it left [name of
defendant]’s possession in a way that was so highly extraordinary
that it was not reasonably foreseeable to [him/her/nonbinary
pronoun/it]?
2. Yes No
2. If your answer to question 2 is yes, then answer question 3. If you
answered no, skip question 3 and answer question 4.
3. Was the [misuse/ [or] modification] the sole cause of [name of
plaintiff]’s harm?
3. Yes No
3. If your answer to question 3 is no, then answer question 4. If you
answered yes, stop here, answer no further questions, and have
the presiding juror sign and date this form.
[4. Is the [product] one about which an ordinary consumer can form
reasonable minimum safety expectations?
[4. Yes No
[4. If your answer to question 4 is yes, answer question 5. If your
answer is no, skip question 5 and answer question 6.]
[5. Did the [product] fail to perform as safely as an ordinary
consumer would have expected when used or misused in an
intended or reasonably foreseeable way?
[5. Yes No
[5. Regardless of your answer to question 5, answer question 6.]
[6. Did the benefits of the [product]’s design outweigh the risks of the
design?
[6. Yes No
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[6. If your answer to question 5 is yes or your answer to question 6
is no, answer question 7. If you answered no to question 5 and
yes to question 6, stop here, answer no further questions, and
have the presiding juror sign and date this form.]
7. Was the [product]’s design a substantial factor in causing harm to
[name of plaintiff]?
7. Yes No
7. If your answer to question 7 is yes, then answer question 8. If you
answered no, stop here, answer no further questions, and have
the presiding juror sign and date this form.
8. What are [name of plaintiff]’s damages?
[a. Past economic loss
(3) [lost earnings $]
(3) [lost profits $]
(3) [medical expenses $]
(3) [other past economic loss $ ]
[a. Total Past Economic Damages: $ ]
[b. Future economic loss
(3) [lost earnings $]
(3) [lost profits $]
(3) [medical expenses $]
(3) [other future economic loss $]
[b. Total Future Economic Damages: $ ]
[c. Past noneconomic loss, including [physical
pain/mental suffering:] $ ]
[d. Future noneconomic loss, including [physical
pain/mental suffering:] $ ]
[d. TOTAL $
Signed: Presiding Juror
Dated:
After [this verdict form has/all verdict forms have] been signed, notify
the [clerk/bailiff/court attendant] that you are ready to present your
verdict in the courtroom.
PRODUCTS LIABILITY VF-1201
801
Copyright Judicial Council of California
New September 2003; Revised October 2004, April 2007, April 2009, December
2010, June 2011, December 2011, December 2014, December 2016, May 2020
Directions for Use
This verdict form is based on CACI No. 1203, Strict Liability - Design
Defect - Consumer Expectation Test - Essential Factual Elements, CACI No. 1204,
Strict Liability - Design Defect - Risk-Benefit Test - Essential Factual
Elements - Shifting Burden of Proof, and CACI No. 1245, Affırmative
Defense - Product Misuse or Modification. If the comparative fault or negligence of
the plaintiff or of third persons is at issue, questions 6 through 9 of CACI No. VF-
1200, Strict Products Liability - Manufacturing Defect - Comparative Fault at Issue,
may be added at the end.
The special verdict forms in this section are intended only as models. They may
need to be modified depending on the facts of the case.
This verdict form can be used in a case in which the jury will decide design defect
under both the consumer expectation and the risk-benefit tests. If only the risk-
benefit test is at issue, omit questions 4 and 5. If only the consumer expectation test
is at issue, omit question 6. Modify the transitional language following questions 5
and 6 if only one test is at issue in the case. Include question 4 if the court has
decided to give to the jury the preliminary question as to whether the consumer
expectation test can be applied to the product at issue in the case. (See Saller v.
Crown Cork & Seal Co., Inc. (2010) 187 Cal.App.4th 1220, 1233-1234 [115
Cal.Rptr.3d 151].) An additional question may be needed if the defendant claims
that the plaintiff’s injuries were caused by some product other than the defendant’s.
If specificity is not required, users do not have to itemize all the damages listed in
question 8. The breakdown is optional depending on the circumstances.
If different damages are recoverable on different causes of action, replace the
damages tables in all of the verdict forms with CACI No. VF-3920, Damages on
Multiple Legal Theories.
If the jury is being given the discretion under Civil Code section 3288 to award
prejudgment interest (see Bullis v. Security Pac. Nat’l Bank (1978) 21 Cal.3d 801,
814 [148 Cal.Rptr. 22, 582 P.2d 109]), give CACI No. 3935, Prejudgment Interest.
This verdict form may need to be augmented for the jury to make any factual
findings that are required in order to calculate the amount of prejudgment interest.
VF-1201 PRODUCTS LIABILITY
802
Copyright Judicial Council of California

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