CACI No. 3903L. Damage to Personal Property Having Special Value (Civ. Code, § 3355) (Economic Damage)

Judicial Council of California Civil Jury Instructions (2023 edition)

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3903L.Damage to Personal Property Having Special Value (Civ.
Code, § 3355) (Economic Damage)
[Insert number, e.g., “12.”] The unique value of [name of plaintiff]’s [item
of personal property].
To recover damages for the unique value, [name of plaintiff] must prove
all of the following:
1. That the [item of personal property] had some market value;
2. That the [item of personal property] had unique value to [name of
plaintiff]; and
3. [That [name of defendant] had notice of this unique value before
the harm;]
3. [or]
3. [That [name of defendant]’s conduct was intentional and
No fixed standard exists for deciding the amount of this value. You must
use your judgment to decide a reasonable amount based on the evidence
and your common sense.
New September 2003
Directions for Use
The judge should determine whether the peculiar value claimed by the plaintiff is
legally sufficient. While the subcommittee been unable to locate cases that state this
rule explicitly, cases have upheld the giving of this type of instruction where there is
substantial evidence of peculiar value.
Sources and Authority
Damages for Loss of Property With Special Value. Civil Code section 3355.
“[T]his section deals with property which has a market value and also a peculiar
value to the owner, and not with property having no market value.” (Zvolanek v.
Bodger Seeds, Ltd. (1935) 5 Cal.App.2d 106, 110 [42 P.2d 92].)
“Peculiar value under Civil Code section 3355 refers to a property’s unique
economic value, not its sentimental or emotional value.” (McMahon v. Craig
(2009) 176 Cal.App.4th 1502, 1518 [97 Cal.Rptr.3d 555] [“peculiar value” refers
to special characteristics that increase an animal’s monetary value, not its
abstract value as a companion to its owner].)
“[T]he question of whether plaintiff proved ‘peculiar value’ was a factual
question for the determination of the jury and that question was properly
submitted to it for decision.” (King v. Karpe (1959) 170 Cal.App.2d 344, 349
[338 P.2d 979].)
Secondary Sources
California Tort Damages (Cont.Ed.Bar) Vehicles and Other Personal Property, § 13.7
4 Levy et al., California Torts, Ch. 52, Medical Expenses and Economic Loss,
§ 52.33 (Matthew Bender)
15 California Forms of Pleading and Practice, Ch. 177, Damages, § 177.47
(Matthew Bender)
California Civil Practice: Torts § 5:17 (Thomson Reuters)

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