California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI)

206. Evidence Admitted for Limited Purpose

During the trial, I explained to you that certain evidence was admitted for a limited purpose. You may consider that evidence only for the limited purpose that I described, and not for any other purpose.

New September 2003

Directions for Use

Where appropriate, an instruction limiting the purpose for which evidence is to be considered must be given upon request. (Evid. Code, § 355; Daggett v. Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Ry. Co. (1957) 48 Cal.2d 655, 665–666 [313 P.2d 557]; Continental Airlines, Inc. v. McDonnell Douglas Corp. (1989) 216 Cal.App.3d 388, 412 [264 Cal.Rptr. 779].) It is recommended that the judge call attention to the purpose to which the evidence applies.

For an instruction on evidence applicable to one party or a limited number of parties, see CACI No. 207, Evidence Applicable to One Party.

Sources and Authority

  • Evidence Code section 355 provides: “When evidence is admissible as to one party or for one purpose and is inadmissible as to another party or for another purpose, the court upon request shall restrict the evidence to its proper scope and instruct the jury accordingly.”
  • Refusal to give a requested instruction limiting the purpose for which evidence is to be considered may constitute error. (Adkins v. Brett (1920) 184 Cal. 252, 261–262 [193 P. 251].)
  • Courts have observed that “[w]here the information is admitted for a purpose other than showing the truth of the matter asserted . . . , prejudice is likely to be minimal and a limiting instruction under section 355 may be requested to control the jury’s use of the information.” (Korsak v. Atlas Hotels, Inc. (1992) 2 Cal.App.4th 1516, 1525 [3 Cal.Rptr.2d 833].)
  • An adverse party may be excused from the requirement of requesting a limiting instruction and may be permitted to assert error if the trial court unequivocally rejects the argument upon which a limiting instruction would be based. (Warner Construction Corp. v. City of Los Angeles (1970) 2 Cal.3d 285, 298–299 [85 Cal.Rptr. 444, 466 P.2d 996].)

Secondary Sources

1 Witkin, California Evidence (4th ed. 2000) Circumstantial Evidence, §§ 30–34

Jefferson, California Evidence Benchbook (3d ed. 1997) §§ 20.11–20.13

1A California Trial Guide, Unit 21, Procedures for Determining Admissibility of Evidence, § 21.21 (Matthew Bender)

48 California Forms of Pleading and Practice, Ch. 551, Trial, §§ 551.66, 551.77 (Matthew Bender)