California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI)

3903I. Damage to Perennial Crop (Economic Damage)

[Insert number, e.g., "9."] The harm to [name of plaintiff]'s crop.

[Damages for destruction of [describe perennial crop] are determined as follows. For the time period from the destruction of the crop until the crop can be restored you must:

1. Determine the rental value of the land with the crop; and

2. Subtract from this amount the rental value of the land without the crop.]

[Damages for destruction of [describe perennial crop], which can be harvested and sold, 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].]

[If the [plants/roots/seeds] responsible for producing the crop are destroyed, the measure of damages may also include the costs of [reseeding/replanting].]

Directions for Use

If the plaintiff claims damages for multiple crops, damages must be calculated for each crop that would have been produced until the land was restored.

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 destruction, less the cost of producing and marketing the same." (Wolfsen v. Hathaway (1948) 32 Cal.2d 632, 644 [198 P.2d 1], verruled on other grounds in Flores v. Arroyo (1961) 56 Cal.2d 492, 497 [15 Cal.Rptr. 87, 364 P.2d 263].)

"Where the roots of the grass in a pasture have been destroyed by water or fire so as to prevent the matured stocks from automatically reseeding the field, the measure of damages includes not only the rental value of the pasture, but also the additional cost of reseeding the field." (Miller & Lux, Inc. v. Pinelli (1927) 84 Cal.App. 42, 49 [257 P. 573].)

"Upon the foregoing authorities, and upon good reason, we conclude that the measure of damages for the appropriation or destruction of pasturage, which is used for grazing purposes, where the grass cannot be reasonably severed and marketed separate from the land, is the reasonable rental value thereof in that vicinity for pasture purposes." (Miller & Lux, Inc., supra, 84 Cal.App. at p. 51.)

"The measure of damages for the destruction of or injury to fruit, nut, or other productive trees is generally the difference in the value of the land before and after the destruction or injury. Damages may be additionally measured by the value of the trees on the premises in their growing state. Some courts have also awarded damages for the resulting crop loss. Where annual crops are damaged each year for several years, a grower may recover for loss of the crops during those years, the increased labor in the care of the land, and damages for injury to the trees themselves. [¶] More recently, the measure of damages for the destruction of fruit trees has included the costs of replacing the trees or restoring the property to its condition prior to the injury. In Baker v. Ramirez, the court held that the cost of restoring an orange grove was the most appropriate measure of damages, where there was no impediment to replacing the orange trees and it was reasonable to replace the trees because only a small portion of the grove was damaged. The court noted that the difference between the value of the property before and after the injury was only one possible measure of damages." (Santa Barbara Pistachio Ranch v. Chowchilla Water Dist. (2001) 88 Cal.App.4th 439, 447 [105 Cal.Rptr.2d 856, 861], internal citations omitted.)

Secondary Sources

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[1] (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)