California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI) (2017)

VF-1703. Defamation per quod (Private Figure—Matter of Public Concern)

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VF-1703.Defamation per quod (Private Figure—Matter of Public
Concern)
We answer the questions submitted to us as follows:
1. Did [name of defendant] make the following statement to [a
person/persons] other than [name of plaintiff]? [Insert claimed per
quod defamatory statement.]
1. Yes No
1. If your answer to question 1 is yes, then answer question 2. If
you answered no, stop here, answer no further questions, and
have the presiding juror sign and date this form.
2. Did the [person/people] to whom the statement was made
reasonably understand that the statement was about [name of
plaintiff]?
2. Yes No
2. If your answer to question 2 is yes, then answer question 3. If
you answered no, stop here, answer no further questions, and
have the presiding juror sign and date this form.
3. Was the statement false?
3. Yes No
3. If your answer to question 3 is yes, then answer question 4. If
you answered no, stop here, answer no further questions, and
have the presiding juror sign and date this form.
4. Did [name of defendant] fail to use reasonable care to determine
the truth or falsity of the statement?
4. Yes No
4. If your answer to question 4 is yes, then answer question 5. If
you answered no, stop here, answer no further questions, and
have the presiding juror sign and date this form.
5. Is the statement, because of facts known to the people who heard
or read the statement, the kind of statement that would tend to
injure [name of plaintiff] in [his/her] occupation?
5. Yes No
5. If your answer to question 5 is yes, then answer question 6. If
you answered no, stop here, answer no further questions, and
have the presiding juror sign and date this form.
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0066
6. Did [name of plaintiff] suffer harm to [his/her] property, business,
profession, or occupation [including money spent as a result of
the statement]?
6. Yes No
6. If your answer to question 6 is yes, then answer question 7. If
you answered no, stop here, answer no further questions, and
have the presiding juror sign and date this form.
7. Was the statement a substantial factor in causing [name of
plaintiff]’s harm?
7. Yes No
7. If your answer to question 7 is yes, then answer question 8. If
you answered no, stop here, answer no further questions, and
have the presiding juror sign and date this form.
ACTUAL DAMAGES
8. What are [name of plaintiff]’s actual damages? [$ ]
8. If [name of plaintiff] has not proved any actual damages, stop
here, answer no further questions, and have the presiding juror
sign and date this form. If you awarded actual damages, answer
question 9.
PUNITIVE DAMAGES
9. Did [name of plaintiff] prove by clear and convincing evidence
that [name of defendant] knew the statement was false or had
serious doubts about the truth of the statement?
9. Yes No
9. If your answer to question 9 is yes, then answer question 10. If
you answered no, stop here, answer no further questions, and
have the presiding juror sign and date this form.
10. Has [name of plaintiff] proved by clear and convincing evidence
that [name of defendant] acted with malice, oppression, or fraud?
10. Yes No
10. If your answer to question 10 is yes, then answer question 11. If
you answered no, stop here, answer no further questions, and
have the presiding juror sign and date this form.
11. What amount, if any, do you award as punitive damages against
[name of defendant]? $
DEFAMATION VF-1703
1005
0067
Signed: Presiding Juror
Dated:
After [this verdict form has/all verdict forms have] been signed, notify
the [clerk/bailiff/court attendant] that you are ready to present your
verdict in the courtroom.
New September 2003; Revised December 2005, December 2010, December 2016
Directions for Use
This verdict form is based on CACI No. 1703, Defamation per quod—Essential
Factual Elements (Private Figure-Matter of Public Concern).
The special verdict forms in this section are intended only as models. They may
need to be modified depending on the facts of the case.
Multiple statements may need to be set out separately, and if separate damages are
claimed as to each statement, separate verdict forms may be needed for each
statement because all the elements may need to be found as to each statement.
Users may need to itemize all the damages listed in question 8 if, for example,
there are multiple defendants and issues regarding apportionment of damages under
Proposition 51.
Question 5 may be modified by referring to one of the other two grounds listed in
element 3 of CACI No. 1703, Defamation per quod—Essential Factual Elements
(Private Figure—Matter of Public Concern), depending on which ground is
applicable in the case.
Additional questions may be needed on the issue of punitive damages if the
defendant is a corporate or other entity.
Omit question 11 if the issue of punitive damages has been bifurcated.
If there are multiple causes of action, users may wish to combine the individual
forms into one form. If different damages are recoverable on different causes of
action, replace the damages tables in all of the verdict forms with CACI No. VF-
3920, Damages on Multiple Legal Theories.
If the jury is being given the discretion under Civil Code section 3288 to award
prejudgment interest (see Bullis v. Security Pac. Nat’l Bank (1978) 21 Cal.3d 801,
814 [148 Cal.Rptr. 22, 582 P.2d 109]), give CACI No. 3935, Prejudgment Interest.
This verdict form may need to be augmented for the jury to make any factual
findings that are required in order to calculate the amount of prejudgment interest.
VF-1703 DEFAMATION
1006
0068