California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI)

217. Evidence of Settlement

You have heard evidence that there was a settlement between [insert names of settling parties]. You must not consider this settlement to determine responsibility for any harm. You may consider this evidence only to decide whether [insert name of witness who settled] is biased or prejudiced and whether [his/her] testimony is believable.

New September 2003

Directions for Use

Evidence of prior settlement is not automatically admissible: “Even if it appears that a witness could have been influenced in his testimony by the payment of money or the obtaining of a dismissal, the party resisting the admission of such evidence may still appeal to the court’s discretion to exclude it under section 352 of the code.” (Granville v. Parsons (1968) 259 Cal.App.2d 298, 305 [66 Cal.Rptr.


Sources and Authority

  • Evidence Code section 1152(a) provides: “Evidence that a person has, in compromise or from humanitarian motives, furnished or offered or promised to furnish money or any other thing, act, or service to another who has sustained or will sustain or claims that he or she has sustained or will sustain loss or damage, as well as any conduct or statements made in negotiation thereof, is inadmissible to prove his or her liability for the loss or damage or any part of it.”
  • “While evidence of a settlement agreement is inadmissible to prove liability, it is admissible to show bias or prejudice of an adverse party. Relevant evidence includes evidence relevant to the credibility of a witness.” (Moreno v. Sayre (1984) 162 Cal.App.3d 116, 126 [208 Cal.Rptr. 444], internal citations omitted.)

Secondary Sources

1 Witkin, California Evidence (4th ed. 2000) Circumstantial Evidence, §§ 140–148

Jefferson, California Evidence Benchbook (3d ed. 1997) §§ 34.15–34.24

3 California Trial Guide, Unit 50, Extrinsic Policies Affecting or Excluding Evidence, § 50.20 (Matthew Bender)

48 California Forms of Pleading and Practice, Ch. 551, Trial, § 551.68 (Matthew Bender)