California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI) (2017)

1722. Retraction: Newspaper or Broadcast (Civ. Code, § 48a)

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1722.Retraction: News Publication or Broadcast (Civ. Code,
§ 48a)
Because [name of defendant] is a [news publication/broadcaster], [name of
plaintiff] may recover only the following:
(a) Damages to property, business, trade, profession, or occupation;
(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
New September 2003; Revised June 2016
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].)
Sources and Authority
• Demand for Correction. Civil Code section 48a.
• “Under California law, a newspaper gains immunity from liability for all but
‘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)