California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI) (2017)

1401. False Arrest Without Warrant by Peace Officer—Essential Factual Elements

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1401.False Arrest Without Warrant by Peace Officer—Essential
Factual Elements
[Name of plaintiff] claims that [he/she] 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] is entitled to a nominal sum such as one dollar. [Name of
plaintiff] is also entitled to additional damages if [he/she] 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.
“ ‘[F]alse arrest’ and ‘false imprisonment’ are not separate torts. False arrest is
but one way of committing a false imprisonment, and they are distinguishable
only in terminology.” (Collins v. City and County of San Francisco (1975) 50
Cal.App.3d 671, 673 [123 Cal.Rptr. 525].)
• Government Code section 820.4 provides: “A public employee is not liable for
his act or omission, exercising due care, in the execution or enforcement of any
law. Nothing in this section exonerates a public employee from liability for
false arrest or false imprisonment.”
• 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].)
• Penal Code section 830 and following provisions define who are peace officers
in California.
Secondary Sources
5 Witkin, Summary of California Law (10th ed. 2005) Torts, §§ 434–440
3Levy 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)
1 California Civil Practice: Torts § 13:20 (Thomson Reuters)