CACI No. 1920. Buyer’s Damages for Purchase or Acquisition of Property

Judicial Council of California Civil Jury Instructions (2023 edition)

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1920.Buyers Damages for Purchase or Acquisition of Property
If you decide that [name of plaintiff] has proved [his/her/nonbinary
pronoun/its] claim against [name of defendant], you also must decide how
much money will reasonably compensate [name of plaintiff] for the harm.
This compensation is called “damages.”
[Name of plaintiff] must prove the amount of [his/her/nonbinary pronoun/
its] damages. However, [name of plaintiff] does not have to prove the
exact amount of damages that will provide reasonable compensation for
the harm. You must not speculate or guess in awarding damages.
The following are the specific items of damages claimed by [name of
1. The difference between [the amount that [name of plaintiff] paid]
[or] [the fair market value of what [name of plaintiff] exchanged
for the property] and the fair market value of the property at the
time of sale;
2. Amounts that [name of plaintiff] reasonably spent in reliance on
[name of defendant]’s [false representation/failure to
disclose/promise] if those amounts would not otherwise have been
spent in the purchase or acquisition of the property; [and]
3. [Insert additional harm arising from the transaction] to the extent
that [name of defendant]’s [false representation/failure to disclose/
promise] was a substantial factor in causing that [insert additional
harm arising from the transaction]; [and]
4. [Lost profits [or other gains].]
New September 2003
Directions for Use
For an instruction on damages for loss of use, see CACI No. 3903G, Loss of Use of
Real Property (Economic Damage).
The first element of this instruction should be modified in cases involving
promissory fraud: “In cases of promissory fraud, the damages are measured by
market value as of the date the promise was breached because that is the date when
the damage occurred.” (Glendale Fed. Sav. & Loan Assn. v. Marina View Heights
Dev. Co. (1977) 66 Cal.App.3d 101, 145-146 [135 Cal.Rptr. 802].)
Sources and Authority
Fraud in Sale of Property: Buyers Damages. Civil Code section 3343.
“As they apply to damages for fraud, subdivisions (a)(2) and (a)(3) of section
3343 are limited to recovery of damages by sellers of real property, while
subdivision (a)(4) deals with purchasers of real property.” (Channell v. Anthony
(1976) 58 Cal.App.3d 290, 309 [129 Cal.Rptr. 704], footnote omitted.)
“Before 1935 the California courts had no statutory mandate on the measure of
damages for fraud. While the ‘benefit of the bargain’ measure of damages was
generally employed, on occasion California courts sometimes applied the ‘out of
pocket’ rule when the ‘loss of bargain’ rule was difficult to apply or would work
a hardship on plaintiff or defendant.” (Channell, supra, 58 Cal.App.3d at p. 309.)
“We find nothing in section 3343 as amended which requires that a plaintiff
show ‘out-of-pocket’ loss (i.e., an amount by which the consideration paid
exceeded the value of the property received) in order to be entitled to any
recovery for fraud in a property transaction.” (Stout v. Turney (1978) 22 Cal.3d
718, 729 [150 Cal.Rptr. 637, 586 P.2d 1228].)
“All doubt concerning this matter was set at rest, however, in the carefully
considered opinion in Bagdasarian v. Gragnon (1948) 31 Cal.2d 744, 753 [192
P.2d 935] where it was definitely and finally determined that the term ‘actual
value,’ as used in the statute, was that same market value so frequently defined
in actions for condemnation.” (Nece v. Bennett (1963) 212 Cal.App.2d 494, 497
[28 Cal.Rptr. 117], internal citation omitted.)
“[P]ursuant to Civil Code section 3343, amounts paid for escrow fees, moving to
and from the property, building permits, telephone connections, fences, yard
cleaning, garage materials, door locks, shrubbery, taxes, rent and labor are
examples of recoverable damages when reasonably expended in reliance on the
fraud.” (Cory v. Villa Properties (1986) 180 Cal.App.3d 592, 603 [225 Cal.Rptr.
628], internal citations omitted.)
“To recover damages for fraud, a plaintiff must have sustained damages
proximately caused by the misrepresentation. A damage award for fraud will be
reversed where the injury is not related to the misrepresentation.” (Las Palmas
Associates v. Las Palmas Center Associates (1991) 235 Cal.App.3d 1220, 1252
[1 Cal.Rptr.2d 301], internal citations omitted.)
Secondary Sources
6 Witkin, Summary of California Law (11th ed. 2017) Torts, §§ 1897-1899
3 Levy et al., California Torts, Ch. 40, Fraud and Deceit and Other Business Torts,
§ 40.23 (Matthew Bender)
23 California Forms of Pleading and Practice, Ch. 269, Fraud and Deceit (Matthew
10 California Points and Authorities, Ch. 105, Fraud and Deceit (Matthew Bender)

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