California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI)
3903K. Loss or Destruction of Personal Property (Economic Damage)
[Insert number, e.g., "11."] The [loss/destruction] of [name of plaintiff]'s [item of personal property].
To recover damages for the [loss/destruction], [name of plaintiff] must prove the fair market value of the [item of personal property] just before the harm occurred.
"Fair market value" is the highest price that a willing buyer would have paid to a willing seller, assuming:
1. That there is no pressure on either one to buy or sell; and
2. That the buyer and seller are fully informed of the condition and quality of the [item of personal property].
Sources and Authority
" 'As a general rule the measure of damage for the loss or destruction of personal property is the value of the property at the time of such loss or destruction.' " (Hand Electronics, Inc. v. Snowline Joint Unified School Dist. (1994) 21 Cal.App.4th 862, 870 [26 Cal.Rptr.2d 446], internal citation omitted.)
"It is well established that under [Civil Code] section 3333, the measure of damages for the loss or destruction of personal property is generally determined by the value of the property at the time of such loss or destruction." (Pelletier v. Eisenberg (1986) 177 Cal.App.3d 558, 567 [233 Cal.Rptr. 84].)
6 Witkin, Summary of California Law (9th ed. 1988) Torts, § 1453, pp. 927-928
4 Levy et al., California Torts, Ch. 52, Medical Expenses and Economic Loss, § 52.32 (Matthew Bender)
California Tort Damages (Cont.Ed.Bar 1988) Vehicles & Other Personal Property, § 13.6
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, § 5:17
(New September 2003)