CACI No. 3902. Economic and Noneconomic Damages

Judicial Council of California Civil Jury Instructions (2024 edition)

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3902.Economic and Noneconomic Damages
The damages claimed by [name of plaintiff] for the harm caused by [name
of defendant] fall into two categories called economic damages and
noneconomic damages. You will be asked on the verdict form to state the
two categories of damages separately.
New September 2003
Directions for Use
This instruction may not be necessary in every case.
Sources and Authority
Proposition 51. Civil Code section 1431.2.
MICRA Limitation on Noneconomic Damages From Health Care Provider. Civil
Code section 3333.2.
The Supreme Court has noted that section 1431.2 “carefully” defines the
“important distinction” between economic and noneconomic damages. (DaFonte
v. Up-Right, Inc. (1992) 2 Cal.4th 593, 600 [7 Cal.Rptr.2d 238, 828 P.2d 140].)
The court stated: “Proposition 51 . . . retains the joint liability of all tortfeasors,
regardless of their respective shares of fault, with respect to all objectively
provable expenses and monetary losses. On the other hand, the more intangible
and subjective categories of damages were limited by Proposition 51 to a rule of
strict proportionate liability. With respect to these noneconomic damages, the
plaintiff alone now assumes the risk that a proportionate contribution cannot be
obtained from each person responsible for the injury.” (Ibid., internal citation
“Proposition 51 . . . allows an injured plaintiff to recover the full amount of
economic damages suffered, regardless of which tortfeaser [sic] or tortfeasors are
named as defendants. The tortfeasors are left to sort out payment in proportion
to fault amongst themselves, and they must bear the risk of nonrecovery from
impecunious tortfeasors. As to noneconomic damages, however, the plaintiff
must sue all the tortfeasors to enable a full recovery. Failure to name a defendant
will preclude recovery of that defendant’s proportional share of damages, and the
plaintiff will bear the risk of nonrecovery from an impecunious tortfeasor.”
(Aetna Health Plans of California, Inc. v. Yucaipa-Calimesa Joint Unified School
Dist. (1999) 72 Cal.App.4th 1175, 1190 [85 Cal.Rptr.2d 672].)
Secondary Sources
5 Witkin, Summary of California Law (11th ed. 2017) Torts, §§ 159, 169, 170
California Tort Damages (Cont.Ed.Bar) Bodily Injury, § 1.5
4 Levy et al., California Torts, Ch. 74, Resolving Multiparty Tort Litigation, § 74.04
(Matthew Bender)
15 California Forms of Pleading and Practice, Ch. 177, Damages, § 177.44
(Matthew Bender)
6 California Points and Authorities, Ch. 64, Damages: Tort, § 64.20 et seq.
(Matthew Bender)
California Civil Practice: Torts § 5:4 (Thomson Reuters)

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