CACI No. 3702. Affirmative Defense - Comparative Fault of Plaintiff’s Agent

Judicial Council of California Civil Jury Instructions (2020 edition)

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3702.Affirmative Defense - Comparative Fault of Plaintiff’s Agent
[Name of defendant] claims that the negligence of [name of plaintiff’s
agent] contributed to [name of plaintiff principal]’s harm. To succeed on
this claim, [name of defendant] must prove all of the following:
1. That [name of plaintiff’s agent] was acting as [name of plaintiff
principal]’s [agent/employee/[insert other relationship, e.g.,
“partner”]];
2. That [name of plaintiff’s agent] was acting within the scope of [his/
her/nonbinary pronoun] [agency/employment/[insert other
relationship]] when the incident occurred; and
3. That the negligence of [name of plaintiff’s agent] was a substantial
factor in causing [name of plaintiff principal]’s harm.
If [name of defendant] proves the above, [name of plaintiff principal]’s
claim is reduced by your determination of the percentage of [name of
plaintiff’s agent]’s responsibility. I will calculate the actual reduction.
New September 2003; Revised December 2009
Directions for Use
This instruction may be used by a defendant against a principal/employer to assert
the comparative fault of an agent/employee. For example, in an automobile accident
lawsuit brought by a corporate plaintiff, the defendant may use this instruction to
assert that the negligence of the plaintiff’s employee/driver contributed to causing
the accident.
Sources and Authority
• The doctrine of respondeat superior is not limited to the principal’s responsibility
for injuries to third parties. A defendant also can use the doctrine to support a
claim of contributory negligence against a plaintiff principal if the plaintiff’s
agent was contributorily negligent. (See 6 Witkin, Summary of Cal. Law (10th
ed. 2005) Torts, § 1324.)
Secondary Sources
6 Witkin, Summary of California Law (10th ed. 2005) Torts, § 1324
2 California Employment Law, Ch. 30, Employers’ Tort Liability to Third Parties for
Conduct of Employees, § 30.08 (Matthew Bender)
21 California Forms of Pleading and Practice, Ch. 248, Employer’s Liability for
Employee’s Torts, § 248.19 (Matthew Bender)
37 California Forms of Pleading and Practice, Ch. 427, Principal and Agent,
§ 427.23 (Matthew Bender)
685
Copyright Judicial Council of California
10 California Points and Authorities, Ch. 100A, Employer and Employee:
Respondeat Superior, § 100A.43 (Matthew Bender)
CACI No. 3702 VICARIOUS RESPONSIBILITY
686
Copyright Judicial Council of California

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