California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI)

2203. Intent

In deciding whether [name of defendant] acted intentionally, you may consider whether [he/she/it] knew that a [breach/disruption] was substantially certain to result from [his/her/its] conduct.

New September 2003

Sources and Authority

  • “In this case, the jury was instructed that ‘[a] defendant is deemed to have acted intentionally if it knew that disruption or interference with an advantageous relationship was substantially certain to result from its conduct.’ [¶] Intent, of course, may be established by inference as well as by direct proof. Thus, the trial court could properly have instructed the jury that it might infer culpable intent from conduct ‘substantially certain’ to interfere with the contract. Here, though, the jury was instructed that culpable intent was ‘deemed’ to exist if Standard knew that its conduct would interfere with the contract. Under the principles outlined above, this instruction was clearly in error.” (Seaman’s Direct Buying Service, Inc. v. Standard Oil Co. (1984) 36 Cal.3d 752, 767 [206 Cal.Rptr. 354, 686 P.2d 1158], overruled on other grounds in Freeman & Mills, Inc. v. Belcher Oil Co. (1995) 11 Cal.4th 85, 98 [44 Cal.Rptr.2d 420, 900 P.2d 669]; disapproved on other grounds in Della Penna v. Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. (1995) 11 Cal.4th 376, 393, fn. 5 [45 Cal.Rptr.2d 436, 902 P.2d 740].)
  • The Della Penna court observed that intentional interference torts are only remotely related to, and have a “superficial kinship” with, other intentional torts, such as battery or false imprisonment. (Della Penna, supra, 11 Cal.4th at p. 383.)

Secondary Sources

5 Witkin, Summary of California Law (10th ed. 2005) Torts, § 743

3 Levy et al., California Torts, Ch. 40, Fraud and Deceit and Other Business Torts, § 40.104 (Matthew Bender)

49 California Forms of Pleading and Practice, Ch. 565, Unfair Competition (Matthew Bender)

12 California Points and Authorities, Ch. 122, Interference (Matthew Bender)