California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI)

1320. Intent

[Name of defendant] acted intentionally if [he/she] intended to [insert facts, e.g., “assault [name of plaintiff],” “commit a battery”] or if [he/she] was substantially certain that the [insert facts, e.g., “assault,” “battery”] would result from [his/her] conduct.

New September 2003

Directions for Use

This instruction may be used to define intent for other intentional torts, where appropriate.

Sources and Authority

  • “In an action for civil battery the element of intent is satisfied if the evidence shows defendant acted with a ‘willful disregard’ of the plaintiff’s rights.” (Ashcraft v. King (1991) 228 Cal.App.3d 604, 613 [278 Cal.Rptr. 900], internal citation omitted.)
  • “As a general rule, California law recognizes that ‘. . . every person is presumed to intend the natural and probable consequences of his acts.’ Thus, a person who acts willfully may be said to intend ‘ “ ‘those consequences which (a) represent the very purpose for which an act is done (regardless of the likelihood of occurrence), or (b) are known to be substantially certain to result (regardless of desire).’ ” ’ The same definition is applied to many intentional torts.” (Gomez v. Acquistapace (1996) 50 Cal.App.4th 740, 746 [57 Cal.Rptr.2d 821], internal citations omitted.)

Secondary Sources

5 Witkin, Summary of California Law (10th ed. 2005) Torts, § 384

6 California Forms of Pleading and Practice, Ch. 58, Assault and Battery, § 58.13[1] (Matthew Bender)

2 California Points and Authorities, Ch. 21, Assault and Battery, § 21.20 (Matthew Bender)