CACI No. 217. Evidence of Settlement

Judicial Council of California Civil Jury Instructions (2020 edition)

Download PDF
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/nonbinary pronoun] 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. 149].)
Sources and Authority
• Evidence of Settlement. Evidence Code section 1152(a).
• “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.)
• “[E]vidence of a plaintiff’s settlement with one or more defendants is admissible
at trial to prove witness bias and to prevent collusion.” (Diamond v. Reshko
(2015) 239 Cal.App.4th 828, 843 [191 Cal.Rptr.3d 438].)
• “[A] term in a settlement agreement requiring the settling defendant to stay in
the case during trial is not per se improper, but the settling defendant’s position
should be revealed to the court and jury to avoid committing a fraud on the
court, and to permit the trier of fact to properly weigh the settling defendant’s
testimony.” (Diamond, supra, 239 Cal.App.4th at p. 844.)
• “[T]he good faith settlement determination did not limit the trial court’s authority
to admit evidence of that settlement at trial. To the contrary, . . . the decision
whether to admit evidence of the settlement was for the trial court to make.”
(Diamond,supra, 239 Cal.App.4th at p. 846.)
• “The bias inherent in a settling defendant’s realignment with the plaintiff’s
interest may or may not affect the conduct of the plaintiff or settling defendant at
trial, but that is a question for the jury to decide.” (Diamond, supra, 239
Cal.App.4th at p. 848.)
65
Copyright Judicial Council of California
Secondary Sources
1 Witkin, California Evidence (5th ed. 2012) Circumstantial Evidence, §§ 145-153
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)
CACI No. 217 EVIDENCE
66
Copyright Judicial Council of California

© Judicial Council of California.