CACI No. 3904A. Present Cash Value

Judicial Council of California Civil Jury Instructions (2020 edition)

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3904A.Present Cash Value
[Name of defendant] claims that [name of plaintiff]’s future [economic]
damages for [loss of earnings/future medical expenses/lost profits/[insert
other economic damages]], if any, should be reduced to present cash
value. This is because money received now will, through investment,
grow to a larger amount in the future.
[[Name of defendant] must prove, through expert testimony, the present
cash value of [name of plaintiff]’s future [economic] damages. It is up to
you to decide the present cash value of [name of plaintiff]’s future
[economic] damages in light of all the evidence presented by the parties.]
[If you decide that [name of plaintiff]’s harm includes future [economic]
damages for [loss of earnings/future medical expenses/lost profits/[insert
other economic damages]], then you must reduce the amount of those
future damages to their present cash value. You must [use the interest
rate of percent/ [and] [specify other stipulated information]] as
agreed to by the parties in determining the present cash value of future
[economic] damages.]
New September 2003; Revised April 2008; Revised and renumbered from former
CACI No. 3904 December 2010; Revised June 2013, May 2020
Directions for Use
Give this instruction if future economic damages are sought and there is evidence
from which a reduction to present value can be made. Include “economic” if future
noneconomic damages are also sought. Future noneconomic damages are not
reduced to present cash value because the amount that the jury is to award should
already encompass the idea of today’s dollars for tomorrow’s loss. (See Salgado v.
County of Los Angeles (1998) 19 Cal.4th 629, 646-647 [80 Cal.Rptr.2d 46, 967 P.2d
585]; CACI No. 3905A, Physical Pain, Mental Suffering, and Emotional Distress
(Noneconomic Damage).)
The defendant bears the burden of presenting expert evidence of an appropriate
present value calculation, including the appropriate discount rate, to enable the fact
finder to make a rational determination on the issue. (Lewis v. Ukran (2019) 36
Cal.App.5th 886, 896 [248 Cal.Rptr.3d 839].) Unless there is a stipulation, expert
testimony is required to accurately establish present values for future economic
losses. (Id.)
Give the last bracketed paragraph if there has been a stipulation as to the interest
rate to use or any other facts related to present cash value, and omit the second
paragraph to account for the parties’ stipulation.
The parties may stipulate to use present-value tables to assist the jury in making its
determination of present cash value. Tables, worksheets, and an instruction on how
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to use them are provided in CACI No. 3904B, Use of Present-Value Tables.
Sources and Authority
• “The present value of a gross award of future damages is that sum of money
prudently invested at the time of judgment which will return, over the period the
future damages are incurred, the gross amount of the award. ‘The concept of
present value recognizes that money received after a given period is worth less
than the same amount received today. This is the case in part because money
received today can be used to generate additional value in the interim.’ The
present value of an award of future damages will vary depending on the gross
amount of the award, and the timing and amount of the individual payments.”
(Holt v. Regents of the University of California (1999) 73 Cal.App.4th 871, 878
[86 Cal.Rptr.2d 752], internal citations omitted.)
• “[I]n a contested case, a party (typically a defendant) seeking to reduce an award
of future damages to present value bears the burden of proving an appropriate
method of doing so, including an appropriate discount rate. A party (typically a
plaintiff) who seeks an upward adjustment of a future damages award to account
for inflation bears the burden of proving an appropriate method of doing so,
including an appropriate inflation rate. This aligns the burdens of proof with the
parties’ respective economic interests. A trier of fact should not reduce damages
to present value, or adjust for inflation, absent such evidence or a stipulation of
the parties.” (Lewis, supra, 36 Cal.App.5th at p. 889.)
• “[W]e hold a defendant seeking reduction to present value of a sum awarded for
future damages has the burden of presenting expert evidence of an appropriate
present value calculation, including the appropriate discount rate, to enable the
fact finder to make a rational determination on the issue.” (Lewis, supra, 36
Cal.App.5th at p. 896.)
• “Exact actuarial computation should result in a lump-sum, present-value award
which if prudently invested will provide the beneficiaries with an investment
return allowing them to regularly withdraw matching support money so that, by
reinvesting the surplus earnings during the earlier years of the expected support
period, they may maintain the anticipated future support level throughout the
period and, upon the last withdrawal, have depleted both principal and interest.”
(Canavin v. Pacific Southwest Airlines (1983) 148 Cal.App.3d 512, 521 [196
Cal.Rptr. 82].)
• “[I]t is not a violation of the plaintiff’s jury trial right for the court to submit
only the issue of the gross amount of future economic damages to the jury, with
the timing of periodic payments - and hence their present value - to be set by
the court in the exercise of its sound discretion.” (Salgado, supra, 19 Cal.4th at
p. 649, internal citation omitted.)
• “Neither party introduced any evidence of compounding or discounting factors,
including how to calculate an appropriate rate of return throughout the relevant
years. Under such circumstances, the ‘jury would have been put to sheer
speculation in determining . . . “the present sum of money which . . . will pay
DAMAGES CACI No. 3904A
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to the plaintiff . . . the equivalent of his [future economic] loss . . . .” ’ ”
(Schiernbeck v. Haight (1992) 7 Cal.App.4th 869, 877 [9 Cal.Rptr.2d 716],
internal citations omitted.)
Secondary Sources
6 Witkin, Summary of California Law (11th ed. 2017) Torts, § 1719
California Tort Damages (Cont.Ed.Bar) Bodily Injury, § 1.96
4 Levy et al., California Torts, Ch. 52, Medical Expenses and Economic Loss,
§§ 52.21-52.22 (Matthew Bender)
15 California Forms of Pleading and Practice, Ch. 177, Damages, § 177.46
(Matthew Bender)
1 California Civil Practice: Torts § 5:22 (Thomson Reuters)
CACI No. 3904A DAMAGES
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