California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI) (2017)

355. Obligation to Pay Money Only

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355.Obligation to Pay Money Only
To recover damages for the breach of a contract to pay money, [name of
plaintiff] must prove the amount due under the contract.
New September 2003
Directions for Use
Read this instruction in conjunction with CACI No. 350, Introduction to Contract
Damages. If there is a dispute as to the appropriate rate of interest, the jury should
be instructed to determine the rate. Otherwise, the judge should calculate the
interest and add the appropriate amount of interest to the verdict.
Sources and Authority
• Damages for Breach of Obligation to Pay Money. Civil Code section 3302.
Interest on Contract Damages. Civil Code section 3289.
• “The section is part of the original Civil Code and was intended to codify a
common-law rule of damages for breach of a contract to pay a liquidated sum.
In Siminoff v. Jas. H. Goodman & Co. Bank, the court after careful and
extensive analysis concluded that section 3302 was not intended to abolish the
common-law measure of damages for dishonor of a check. Hartford, in
reaching the opposite conclusion, failed even to note the common-law rule or
the California cases which had followed it, and did not discuss the strong
arguments in its favor advanced in the Siminoff opinion. The Hartford holding
on section 3302 no longer applies to the instant problem since section 3320
clearly constitutes ‘a legislative recognition that a depositor whose check is
wrongfully dishonored may thereby sustain “actual damage” beyond the amount
of the check’ and thus supersedes the Hartford holding on the measure of
damages.” (Weaver v. Bank of America National Trust & Savings Assn. (1963)
59 Cal.2d 428, 436, fn. 11 [30 Cal.Rptr. 4, 380 P.2d 644], internal citations
Secondary Sources
1 Witkin, Summary of California Law (10th ed. 2005) Contracts, § 908
1Matthew Bender Practice Guide: California Contract Litigation, Ch. 7, Seeking or
Opposing Damages in Contract Actions, 7.04[7][a]