CACI No. 1321. Transferred Intent

Judicial Council of California Civil Jury Instructions (2020 edition)

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1321.Transferred Intent
If [name of defendant] intended to commit a battery or assault on one
person, but by mistake or accident committed the act on [name of
plaintiff], then the battery or assault is the same as if the intended person
had been the victim.
New October 2008
Directions for Use
Use this instruction with CACI No. 1300, Battery - Essential Factual Elements, or
1301, Assault - Essential Factual Elements, if it is alleged that the defendant
intended to batter or assault one person, and mistakenly or accidentally battered or
assaulted the plaintiff.
Sources and Authority
• “While throwing rocks at trees or into the street ordinarily is an innocent and
lawful pastime, that same act when directed at another person is wrongful. The
evidence at bar . . . warrants an inference that [defendant] threw at [third party]
and inadvertently struck [plaintiff]. In such circumstances the doctrine of
“transferred intent” renders him liable to [plaintiff]. . . . ‘If defendant unlawfully
aims at one person and hits another he is guilty of assault and battery on the
party he hit, the injury being the direct, natural and probable consequence of the
wrongful act.’ The rule is not confined to criminal cases, as argued by
respondents.” (Singer v. Marx (1956) 144 Cal.App.2d 637, 642 [301 P.2d 440],
internal citations omitted.)
Secondary Sources
5 Witkin, Summary of California Law (10th ed. 2005) Torts, § 384
3 Levy et al., California Torts, Ch. 41, Assault and Battery, § 41.01[3][c] (Matthew
6 California Forms of Pleading and Practice, Ch. 58, Assault and Battery, §§ 58.13,
58.15 (Matthew Bender)
2 California Points and Authorities, Ch. 21, Assault and Battery, § 21.22 (Matthew
1 California Civil Practice: Torts (Thomson West) § 12:8
1322-1399. Reserved for Future Use
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