CACI No. 1709. Retraction: News Publication or Broadcast (Civ. Code, § 48a)

Judicial Council of California Civil Jury Instructions (2020 edition)

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1709.Retraction: News Publication or Broadcast (Civ. Code,
§ 48a)
Because [name of defendant] is a [[daily/weekly] news
publication/broadcaster], [name of plaintiff] may recover only the
following:
(a) Damages to property, business, trade, profession, or occupation;
and
(b) Damages for money spent as a result of the defamation.
However, this limitation does not apply if [name of plaintiff] proves both
of the following:
1. That [name of plaintiff] demanded a correction of the statement
within 20 days of discovering the statement; and
2. That [name of defendant] did not publish an adequate correction;
2. [or]
2. That [name of defendant]’s correction was not substantially as
conspicuous as the original [publication/broadcast];
2. [or]
2. That [name of defendant]’s correction was not
[published/broadcast] within three weeks of [name of plaintiff]’s
demand.
New September 2003; Revised June 2016, May 2017; Renumbered from CACI No.
1722 November 2017
Directions for Use
The judge should decide whether the demand for a retraction was served in
compliance with the statute. (O’Hara v. Storer Communications, Inc. (1991) 231
Cal.App.3d 1101, 1110 [282 Cal.Rptr. 712].)
The statute is limited to actions “for damages for the publication of a libel in a daily
or weekly news publication, or of a slander by radio broadcast.” (Civ. Code,
§ 48a(a).) However, a “radio broadcast” includes television. (Civ. Code, § 48.5(4)
[the terms “radio,” “radio broadcast,” and “broadcast,” are defined to include both
visual and sound radio broadcasting]; Kalpoe v. Superior Court (2013) 222
Cal.App.4th 206, 210, 166 Cal.Rptr.3d 80].)
Sources and Authority
• Demand for Correction. Civil Code section 48a.
• “Under California law, a newspaper gains immunity from liability for all but
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‘special damages’ when it prints a retraction satisfying the requirements of
section 48a.” (Pierce v. San Jose Mercury News (1989) 214 Cal.App.3d 1626,
1631 [263 Cal.Rptr. 410]; see also Twin Coast Newspapers, Inc. v. Superior
Court (1989) 208 Cal.App.3d 656, 660-661 [256 Cal.Rptr. 310].)
• “An equivocal or incomplete retraction obviously serves no purpose even if it is
published in ‘substantially as conspicuous a manner . . . as were the statements
claimed to be libelous.’ ” (Weller v. American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
(1991) 232 Cal.App.3d 991, 1011 [283 Cal.Rptr. 644].)
Secondary Sources
5 Witkin, Summary of California Law (10th ed. 2005) Torts, §§ 629-639
4 Levy et al., California Torts, Ch. 45, Defamation, § 45.24 (Matthew Bender)
30 California Forms of Pleading and Practice, Ch. 340, Libel and Slander, § 340.53
(Matthew Bender)
14 California Points and Authorities, Ch. 142, Libel and Slander (Defamation),
§ 142.37 (Matthew Bender)
1 California Civil Practice: Torts §§ 21:55-21:57 (Thomson Reuters)
1710-1719. Reserved for Future Use
DEFAMATION CACI No. 1709
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