California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI)

5006. Non-Person Party

A [corporation/partnership/city/county/[other entity]], [name of entity], is a party in this lawsuit. [Name of entity] is entitled to the same fair and impartial treatment that you would give to an individual. You must decide this case with the same fairness that you would use if you were deciding the case between individuals.

When I use words like "person" or "he" or "she" in these instructions to refer to a party, those instructions also apply to [name of entity].

Directions for Use

This instruction should be given if one of the parties is an entity. Select the type of entity and insert the name of the entity where indicated in the instruction. If this instruction is used, the Advisory Committee recommends that it be read to the jury before reading instructions on the substantive law.

Sources and Authority

Corporations Code section 207 provides that a corporation "shall have all of the powers of a natural person in carrying out its business activities." Civil Code section 14 defines the word "person," for purposes of that code, to include corporations as well as natural persons.

As a general rule, a corporation is considered to be a legal entity that has an existence separate from that of its shareholders. (Erkenbrecher v. Grant (1921) 187 Cal. 7, 9 [200 P. 641].)

"In general, any person or entity has capacity to sue or defend a civil action in the California courts. This includes artificial 'persons' such as corporations, partnerships and associations." (American Alternative Energy Partners II, 1985 v. Windridge, Inc. (1996) 42 Cal.App.4th 551, 559 [49 Cal.Rptr.2d 686], internal citations omitted.)

Secondary Sources

9 Witkin, Summary of California Law (9th ed. 1989) Corporations, § 1, p. 511

(New April 2004)