CACI No. 1401. False Arrest Without Warrant by Peace Officer - Essential Factual Elements

Judicial Council of California Civil Jury Instructions (2024 edition)

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1401.False Arrest Without Warrant by Peace Officer - Essential
Factual Elements
[Name of plaintiff] claims that [he/she/nonbinary pronoun] was wrongfully
arrested by [name of defendant]. To establish this claim, [name of plaintiff]
must prove all of the following:
1. That [name of defendant] arrested [name of plaintiff] without a
2. That [name of plaintiff] was [actually] harmed; and
3. That [name of defendant]’s conduct was a substantial factor in
causing [name of plaintiff]’s harm.
New September 2003
Directions for Use
Give CACI No. 1402, False Arrest Without Warrant - Affırmative Defense - Peace
Offıcer - Probable Cause to Arrest, if applicable, immediately after this instruction.
If plaintiff is seeking nominal damages as an alternative to actual damages, insert
the following paragraph above element 2:
If you find the above, then the law assumes that [name of plaintiff] has been
harmed and [he/she/nonbinary pronoun] is entitled to a nominal sum such as
one dollar. [Name of plaintiff] is also entitled to additional damages if [he/she/
nonbinary pronoun] proves the following:
The second sentence of the above paragraph, along with the final two elements of
this instruction, should be omitted if plaintiff is seeking nominal damages only.
Read “actually” in the second element only if nominal damages are also being
Sources and Authority
“Arrest” Defined. Penal Code section 834.
Public Employee Liability for False Arrest. Government Code section 820.4.
“Peace Officer” Defined. Penal Code section 830 et seq.
“False arrest and false imprisonment are the same tort. False arrest is a way of
committing false imprisonment.” (Cox v. Griffın (2019) 34 Cal.App.5th 440, 446,
fn. 6 [246 Cal.Rptr.3d 185].)
A person is liable for false imprisonment if he or she ‘authorizes, encourages,
directs, or assists an officer to do an unlawful act, or procures an unlawful arrest,
without process, or participates in the unlawful arrest . . . .’ (Du Lac v. Perma
Trans Products, Inc. (1980) 103 Cal.App.3d 937, 941 [163 Cal.Rptr. 335],
internal citation omitted.) Where a defendant “knowingly [gives] the police false
or materially incomplete information, of a character that could be expected to
stimulate an arrest” . . . “such conduct can be a basis for imposing liability for
false imprisonment.” (Id. at p. 942.)
“It has long been the law that a cause of action for false imprisonment is stated
where it is alleged that there was an arrest without process, followed by
imprisonment and damages. Upon proof of those facts the burden is on the
defendant to prove justification for the arrest.” (Cervantez v. J.C. Penney Co.
(1979) 24 Cal.3d 579, 592 [156 Cal.Rptr. 198, 595 P.2d 975].)
“[T]he elements of the tort of false arrest are: defendant arrested plaintiffs
without a warrant, plaintiffs were harmed, and defendant’s conduct was a
substantial factor in causing the harm.” (Carcamo v. Los Angeles County Sheriff’s
Dept. (2021) 68 Cal.App.5th 608, 616 [283 Cal.Rptr.3d 647].)
“False imprisonment and malicious prosecution are mutually inconsistent torts
and only one, if either, will lie in this case. In a malicious criminal prosecution,
the detention was malicious but it was accomplished properly, i.e., by means of
a procedurally valid arrest. In contrast, if the plaintiff is arrested pursuant to a
procedurally improper warrant or warrantless arrest, the remedy is a cause of
action for false imprisonment.” (Cummings v. Fire Ins. Exch. (1988) 202
Cal.App.3d 1407, 1422 [249 Cal.Rptr. 568].)
Secondary Sources
5 Witkin, Summary of California Law (11th ed. 2017) Torts, §§ 507-513
3 Levy et al., California Torts, Ch. 42, False Imprisonment and False Arrest,
§ 42.23 (Matthew Bender)
22 California Forms of Pleading and Practice, Ch. 257, False Imprisonment
(Matthew Bender)
California Civil Practice: Torts § 13:20 (Thomson Reuters)

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