California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI)

3712. Joint Ventures

A joint venture and each of its members are responsible for the wrongful conduct of a member acting within the scope of his or her authority.

You must decide whether a joint venture existed in this case. A joint venture exists when two or more persons combine their property, skill, or knowledge to carry out a single business undertaking and agree to share the control, profits, and losses. A joint venture can be formed by a written or oral agreement or by an agreement implied by the parties' conduct.

Directions for Use

This instruction can be modified for cases involving unincorporated associations by substituting the term "unincorporated association" for "joint venture."

Sources and Authority

"A joint venture is 'an undertaking by two or more persons jointly to carry out a single business enterprise for profit.' " (Weiner v. Fleischman (1991) 54 Cal.3d 476, 482 [286 Cal.Rptr. 40, 816 P.2d 892], internal citations omitted.)

"A joint venture has been defined in various ways, but most frequently perhaps as an association of two or more persons who combine their property, skill or knowledge to carry out a single business enterprise for profit." (Holtz v. United Plumbing and Heating Co. (1957) 49 Cal.2d 501, 506 [319 P.2d 617].)

Joint ventures are similar to partnerships, but the term "joint venture" commonly applies to temporary business arrangements involving a single transaction: "From a legal standpoint, both relationships are virtually the same. Accordingly, the courts freely apply partnership law to joint ventures when appropriate." (Weiner, supra, 54 Cal.3d at p. 482.)

"It has generally been recognized that in order to create a joint venture there must be an agreement between the parties under which they have a community of interest, that is, a joint interest, in a common business ndertaking, an understanding as to the sharing of profits and losses, and a right of joint control." (Holtz, supra, 49 Cal.2d at pp. 506-507.)

"The joint enterprise theory, while rarely invoked outside the automobile accident context, is well established and recognized in this state as an exception to the general rule that imputed liability for the negligence of another will not be recognized." (Christensen v. Superior Court (1991) 54 Cal.3d 868, 893 [2 Cal.Rptr.2d 79, 820 P.2d 181], internal citation omitted.)

"The existence or nonexistence of a joint venture is a fact question for resolution by the jury." (Kaljian v. Menezes (1995) 36 Cal.App.4th 573, 586 [42 Cal.Rptr.2d 510], internal citations omitted.)

Secondary Sources

6 Witkin, Summary of California Law (9th ed. 1988) Torts, § 1008

1 Levy et al., California Torts, Ch. 8, Vicarious Liability, § 8.07 (Matthew Bender)

37 California Forms of Pleading and Practice, Ch. 427, Principal and Agent (Matthew Bender)

10 California Points and Authorities, Ch. 100, Employer and Employee (Matthew Bender)

1 Bancroft-Whitney's California Civil Practice (1992) Torts, §§ 3:38-3:39

(New September 2003)