California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI)

VF-1704. Defamation per se—Affirmative Defense—Truth (Private Figure—Matter of Private Concern)

New September 2003; Revised December 2005, April 2008, October 2008, December 2010

Directions for Use

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. This verdict form is based on CACI No. 1704, Defamation per se—Essential Factual Elements (Private Figure—Matter of Private Concern), and CACI No. 1720, Affırmative Defense—Truth. Delete question 4 if the affirmative defense of the truth is not at issue.

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.

If specificity is not required, users do not have to itemize all the damages listed in question 7. The breakdown is optional depending on the circumstances.

Give the jury question 3 only if the statement is not defamatory on its face.

In question 7, omit damage items c and d if the plaintiff elects not to present proof of actual damages for harm to reputation and for shame, mortification, or hurt feelings. Whether or not proof for both categories is offered, include question 8. For these categories, the jury may find that no actual damages have been proven but must still make an award of assumed damages.

Additional questions on the issue of punitive damages may be needed if the defendant is a corporate or other entity.

Omit question 10 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.

This form may be modified if the jury is being given the discretion under Civil Code section 3288 to award prejudgment interest on specific losses that occurred prior to judgment.