CACI No. 3517. Comparable Sales (Evid. Code, § 816)

Judicial Council of California Civil Jury Instructions (2023 edition)

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3517.Comparable Sales (Evid. Code, § 816)
To assist you in determining the fair market value of the property, you
have heard evidence of comparable sales. It is up to you to decide the
importance of this evidence in determining the fair market value.
New December 2013
Directions for Use
Use this instruction if the court has allowed evidence of comparable sales to be
presented to the jury.
Sources and Authority
Comparable Sales. Evidence Code section 816.
“[T]he essence of comparability is recent and local sales suffıciently alike in
respect to character, size, situation, usability, and improvements’ so that the price
‘may fairly be considered as shedding light on the value of the condemned
property. . . . After the trial court resolves this preliminary legal question, it is
then ultimately for the jury to determine the extent to which the other property is
in fact comparable.” (County of Glenn v. Foley (2012) 212 Cal.App.4th 393, 401
[151 Cal.Rptr.3d 8], original italics, internal citations omitted.)
“This whole ‘shedding light on value’ standard is nothing more than a
restatement of the general rule for the introduction of circumstantial evidence,
which is admissible if relevant, ‘i.e., if it can provide any rational inference in
support of the issue.’ (County of Glenn, supra, 212 Cal.App.4th at p. 402,
original italics, footnote omitted.)
“[No] general rule can be laid down regarding the degree of similarity that must
exist to make [comparable sales] evidence admissible. It must necessarily vary
with the circumstances of each particular case. Whether the properties are
sufficiently similar to have some bearing on the value under consideration, and
to be of any aid to the jury, must necessarily rest largely in the sound discretion
of the trial court, which will not be interfered with unless abused.” (Merced
Irrigation Dist. v. Woolstenhulme (1971) 4 Cal.3d 478, 500 [93 Cal.Rptr. 833,
483 P.2d 1].)
“The trial judge’s prima facie determination that a sale is sufficiently
‘comparable’ to be admitted into evidence has never been thought to foreclose
the question of ‘comparability’ altogether. ‘[If] at the discretion of the court,
such [sales] are admissible on the grounds of comparability, the degree of
comparability is a question of fact for the jury.’ (County of San Luis Obispo v.
Bailey (1971) 4 Cal.3d 518, 525 [93 Cal.Rptr. 859, 483 P.2d 27].)
“We have never declared properties noncomparable per se merely because they
differ in size or shape. On the contrary, the trial court’s obligation, pursuant to
section 816, is to determine whether the sale price of one property could shed
light upon the value of the condemned property, notwithstanding any differences
that might exist between them. If it resolves that question affirmatively, it can
admit the evidence. The jury then, on the basis of all the evidence, determines
the extent to which any differences between the condemned property and the
comparable property affect their relative values.” (Los Angeles v. Retlaw
Enterprises, Inc. (1976) 16 Cal.3d 473, 482 [128 Cal.Rptr. 436, 546 P.2d 1380],
original italics.)
Secondary Sources
8 Witkin, Summary of California Law (11th ed. 2017), Constitutional Law §§ 1372,
1 Witkin, California Evidence (5th ed. 2012) Opinion Evidence, § 108
14 California Real Estate Law and Practice, Ch. 508, Evidence: General, § 508.11
(Matthew Bender)
Cotchett, California Courtroom Evidence, Ch. 17, Nonexpert and Expert Opinion,
17.14 (Matthew Bender)
20 California Forms of Pleading and Practice, Ch. 247, Eminent Domain and
Inverse Condemnation, § 247.147 (Matthew Bender)
3518-3599. Reserved for Future Use

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