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Introduction

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This Manual of Model Civil Jury Instructions (“Manual”) has been prepared to help judges communicate effectively with juries.

The instructions in this manual are models. They must be reviewed carefully before use in a particular case. They are not a substitute for the individual research and drafting that may be required in a particular case, nor are they intended to discourage judges from using their own forms and techniques for instructing juries. See McDowell v. Calderon, 130 F.3d 833, 840 (9th Cir. 1997).

The Jury Instructions Committee considers suggestions from judges, staff and practitioners about possible revisions, additions and deletions. After careful assessment and research, many of these suggestions are adopted. Revisions are available online. They are later compiled and published in the printed version of the Manual. The committee strongly encourages users of this book to make suggestions for further revisions and updates. A suggestion form has been included in the back of this book for that purpose.

The Manual is periodically reprinted. Publication of any edition of the Manual necessarily presents a snap-shot of an ongoing research and drafting process. Accordingly, even the most recently dated edition of the Manual does not guarantee that one is using instructions that are up to date. All instructions in this edition are coded to indicate the year they were last approved by the Committee. The code appears at the bottom of the page upon which an instruction appears (e.g. “Approved 2006”). Users of the Manual should check the date to determine when an instruction was last approved. The entire publication and any later changes can be found under the “Publications” area of the Ninth Circuit’s website at http://www.ce9.uscourts.gov . This edition is current as to instructions approved in September 2006.

This edition contains a substantial revision and reorganization of many chapters. For example, former Chapters 1-5 have been reorganized as three chapters: Chapter 1 (“Instructions on the Trial Process”), Chapter 2 (“Instructions on Types of Evidence”), and Chapter 3 (“Instructions on Deliberations”). Chapter 9 (“Civil Rights Actions—42 U.S.C. § 1983”) and Chapter 10 (“Civil Rights—Title VII—Employment Discrimination; Harassment; Retaliation”) have been substantially revised and expanded. To assist users, the committee has included a table listing the old instruction numbers in the 2001 edition and the corresponding numbers in the 2007 edition.

These model instructions have been reviewed by various members of the federal bench and bar. The committee extends its thanks to those who reviewed and commented on various parts of the book. The committee also extends its thanks to Ninth Circuit Office of the Circuit Executive staff members Robin Donoghue and Debra Landis. In addition, the committee acknowledges with gratitude the singular contributions of Joseph Franaszek, Esq. For many years, Mr. Franaszek has worked with the committee on a voluntary basis, providing careful research and drafting assistance, as well as a unique “institutional memory” that enables the shifting members of the committee to understand how existing instructions came to be formulated. Mr. Franaszek has performed an invaluable service to the Ninth Circuit and the Bar and has earned the committee’s enduring respect.
CAVEAT

These model-jury instructions are written and organized by district judges and magistrate judges who are appointed to the Ninth Circuit Jury Instructions Committee by the Chief Circuit Judge. The judges on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals do not serve on the committee, however, and they do not participate in the drafting process. The Court of Appeals does not adopt these instructions as definitive. Indeed, occasionally the correctness of a given instruction may be the subject of a Ninth Circuit opinion.

NINTH CIRCUIT JURY INSTRUCTIONS COMMITTEE

  • Judge George H. King, Chair
  • Judge Anna J. Brown
  • Judge Roger L. Hunt
  • Judge A. Howard Matz
  • Judge Jeffrey T. Miller
  • Judge Marsha J. Pechman
  • Magistrate Judge Richard Seeborg
  • Joseph Franaszek, Reporter
  • Robin Donoghue, Staff
  • Debra Landis, Staff

September, 2006