California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI)
3903H. Damage to Annual Crop (Economic Damage)
[Insert number, e.g., "8."] The harm to [name of plaintiff]'s crop.
[Damages for the destruction of an entire annual crop are determined as follows:
1. Determine the expected market value of the crop before the harm occurred; and
2. Subtract from this amount the estimated costs of producing and marketing the crop, excluding costs that have already been paid by [name of plaintiff].]
[Damages for the destruction of part of an annual crop are determined as follows:
1. Determine the expected market value of the crop before the harm occurred;
2. Subtract from this amount the estimated costs of producing and marketing the crop. This is the expected net profit.
3. Next, subtract the actual cost of producing and marketing the surviving crop from the actual receipts. This is actual net profit.
4. Subtract number 3 from number 2. This amount is [name of plaintiff]'s damages for this loss.]
Directions for Use
Select one of the bracketed options depending on whether the plaintiff is seeking damages for the destruction of all or part of a crop.
Sources and Authority
"They rely on the distinction drawn between the wrongful destruction of perennial crops, such as volunteer grass for grazing purposes, and annually planted crops. Thus, in the former case the proper measure of damages is the difference in the rental value of the property with and without the crops, while in the latter case the proper measure of damages is the market value of the estimated product at the time of estruction, less the cost of producing and marketing the same." (Wolfsen v. Hathaway (1948) 32 Cal.2d 632, 644 [198 P.2d 1], internal citations omitted, overruled on other grounds in Flores v. Arroyo (1961) 56 Cal.2d 492 [15 Cal.Rptr. 87, 364 P.2d 263].)
"We concede that the proper method is to show what the crop would have been and to deduct the probable cost of producing and selling such crop with the difference between market value and costs constituting the amount of damages. We have so held in [cited cases]. The rule is clearly set forth also in other California cases and authorities." (Spinelli v. Tallcott (1969) 272 Cal.App.2d 589, 592 [77 Cal.Rptr. 481], internal citations omitted.)
"The proper measure of damages is the market value of the estimated product at the time of destruction, less the cost of producing and marketing the same." (Parks v. Atwood Crop Dusters, Inc. (1953) 118 Cal.App.2d 368, 373 [257 P.2d 653], internal citation omitted.)
"The correct rule for the measurement of damages for the partial destruction of a growing crop was discussed in Rystrom v. Sutter Butte Canal Co., 72 Cal.App. 518, 522-523 [249 P. 53]. In that case a growing crop of rice had been damaged. The court pointed out that estimated costs of production must first be deducted from expected gross receipts to arrive at the expected net profit. Next, the court said, actual cost of production must be deducted from actual receipts to arrive at actual net profit. Finally, deducting actual net profit from expected net profit fixes the actual damage." (Solis v. County of Contra Costa (1967) 251 Cal.App.2d 844, 847-848 [60 Cal.Rptr. 99].)
6 Witkin, Summary of California Law (9th ed. 1988) Torts, § 1469, p. 940
4 Levy et al., California Torts, Ch. 52, Medical Expenses and Economic Loss, § 52.34 (Matthew Bender)
California Real Property Remedies Practice (Cont.Ed.Bar 1982) Damages for Injury to Real Property, § 11.14
15 California Forms of Pleading and Practice, Ch. 177, Damages (Matthew Bender)
6 California Points and Authorities, Ch. 65, Damages (Matthew Bender)
1 Bancroft-Whitney's California Civil Practice (1992) Torts, § 5:19
(New September 2003)