CACI No. 1708. Coerced Self-Publication

Judicial Council of California Civil Jury Instructions (2020 edition)

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1708.Coerced Self-Publication
[Name of plaintiff] claims that [name of defendant] is responsible for [his/
her/nonbinary pronoun] harm even though [name of defendant] did not
communicate the statement(s) to anyone other than [name of plaintiff]. To
succeed, [name of plaintiff] must prove all of the following:
1. That [name of defendant] made the statement(s) to [name of
2. That [name of plaintiff] was under strong pressure to
communicate [name of defendant]’s statement(s) to another
person; and
3. That when [name of defendant] made the statements,
[he/she/nonbinary pronoun] should have known that [name of
plaintiff] would be under strong pressure to communicate them to
another person.
If [name of plaintiff] has proved all of the above, then you must find that
[name of defendant] was responsible for the communication of the
New September 2003
Sources and Authority
• The general rule is that “[a] plaintiff cannot manufacture a defamation cause of
action by publishing the statements to third persons; the publication must be
done by the defendant.” The exception to the rule occurs “when it [is]
foreseeable that the defendant’s act would result in plaintiff’s publication to a
third person.” (Live Oak Publishing Co. v. Cohagan (1991) 234 Cal.App.3d
1277, 1284 [286 Cal.Rptr. 198].)
• [A] “self-publication of the alleged defamatory statement may be imputed to the
originator of the statement if ‘the person defamed is operating under a strong
compulsion to republish the defamatory statement and the circumstances which
create the strong compulsion are known to the originator of the defamatory
statement at the time he communicates it to the person defamed.’ ” (Davis v.
Consolidated Freightways (1994) 29 Cal.App.4th 354, 373 [34 Cal.Rptr.2d 438],
quoting McKinney v. County of Santa Clara (1980) 110 Cal.App.3d 787,
797-798 [168 Cal.Rptr. 89].)
• “This exception has been limited to a narrow class of cases, usually where a
plaintiff is compelled to republish the statements in aid of disproving them.”
(Live Oak Publishing Co., supra, 234 Cal.App.3d at p. 1285.)
• To determine if the coercion exception applies, the test is “whether ‘because of
some necessity he was under to communicate the matter to others, it was
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reasonably to be anticipated that he would do so.’ ” (Live Oak Publishing Co.,
supra, 234 Cal.App.3d at p. 1285.)
Secondary Sources
5 Witkin, Summary of California Law (10th ed. 2005) Torts, §§ 537, 616
14 California Points and Authorities, Ch. 142, Libel and Slander (Defamation),
§ 142.22 (Matthew Bender)
1 California Civil Practice: Torts (Thomson West) § 21:15
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