California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI)

2903. Causation - Negligence

[Name of defendant]'s negligence, if any, was a cause of [[name of plaintiff]'s harm/[name of decedent]'s death] if it played any part, no matter how small, in bringing about the [harm/death], even if other factors also contributed to the [harm/death].

Directions for Use

For an instruction on concurrent cause, see CACI No. 431, Causation: Multiple Causes.

Sources and Authority

"Under this statute the test of a jury case is simply whether the proofs justify with reason the conclusion that employer negligence played any part, even the slightest, in producing the injury or death for which damages are sought." (Rogers v. Missouri Pacific Railroad Co. (1957) 352 U.S. 500, 506 [77 S.Ct. 443, 1 L.Ed.2d 493].)

"The common law concept of proximate cause . . . has not been adopted as the causation test in FELA cases. Causation in an FELA case exists even if there is a plurality of causes, including the negligence of the defendant or of a third person. The negligence of the employer need not be the sole cause or even a substantial cause of the ensuing injury." (Parker v. Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Ry. Co. (1968) 263 Cal.App.2d 675, 678 [70 Cal.Rptr. 8].)

"Although the burden upon the plaintiff in proving causation in an F.E.L.A. case can be weighed neither in pounds nor ounces, it is a substantially lighter burden that that imposed upon him by [the common-law jury instruction]." (Parker, supra, 263 Cal.App.2d at p. 678.)

(New September 2003)