California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI)

1907. Reliance

[Name of plaintiff] relied on [name of defendant]’s [misrepresentation/concealment] if it caused [him/her/it] to [insert brief description of the action, e.g., “buy the house”], and if [he/she/ it] would probably not have done so without such [misrepresentation/concealment].

It is not necessary for a [misrepresentation/concealment] to be the only reason for [name of plaintiff]’s conduct. It is enough if a [misrepresentation/concealment] substantially influenced [name of plaintiff]’s choice, even if it was not the only reason for [his/her/its] conduct.

New September 2003

Sources and Authority

  • “It is settled that a plaintiff, to state a cause of action for deceit based on a misrepresentation, must plead that he or she actually relied on the misrepresentation.” (Mirkin v. Wasserman (1993) 5 Cal.4th 1082, 1088 [23 Cal.Rptr.2d 101, 858 P.2d 568], internal citations omitted.)
  • “Reliance exists when the misrepresentation or nondisclosure was an immediate cause of the plaintiff’s conduct which altered his or her legal relations, and when without such misrepresentation or nondisclosure he or she would not, in all reasonable probability, have entered into the contract or other transaction. ‘Except in the rare case where the undisputed facts leave no room for a reasonable difference of opinion, the question of whether the plaintiff’s reliance is reasonable is a question of fact.’ ” (Alliance Mortgage Co. v. Rothwell (1995) 10 Cal.4th 1226, 1239 [44 Cal.Rptr.2d 352, 900 P.2d 601], internal citations omitted.)
  • “In establishing the reliance element of a cause of action for fraud, it is settled that the alleged fraud need not be the sole cause of a party’s reliance. Instead, reliance may be established on the basis of circumstantial evidence showing the alleged fraudulent misrepresentation or concealment substantially influenced the party’s choice, even though other influences may have operated as well.” (Sangster v. Paetkau (1998) 68 Cal.App.4th 151, 170 [80 Cal.Rptr.2d 66], internal citations omitted.)
  • “[A] presumption, or at least an inference, of reliance arises wherever there is a showing that a misrepresentation was material. A misrepresentation is judged to be ‘material’ if ‘a reasonable man would attach importance to its existence or nonexistence in determining his choice of action in the transaction in question’ and as such, materiality is generally a question of fact unless the ‘fact misrepresented is so obviously unimportant that the jury could not reasonably find that a reasonable man would have been influenced by it.’ ” (Engalla v. Permanente Medical Group, Inc. (1997) 15 Cal.4th 951, 977 [64 Cal.Rptr.2d 843, 938 P.2d 903].)

Secondary Sources

5 Witkin, Summary of California Law (10th ed. 2005) Torts, §§ 808—815

3 Levy et al., California Torts, Ch. 40, Fraud and Deceit and Other Business Torts, §§ 40.05—40.06 (Matthew Bender)

23 California Forms of Pleading and Practice, Ch. 269, Fraud and Deceit (Matthew Bender)

10 California Points and Authorities, Ch. 105, Fraud and Deceit (Matthew Bender)

2 California Civil Practice: Torts (Thomson West) § 22:31