CACI No. VF-1705. Defamation per quod (Private Figure - Matter of Private Concern)

Judicial Council of California Civil Jury Instructions (2020 edition)

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VF-1705.Defamation per quod (Private Figure - Matter of Private
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. Did [name of defendant] fail to use reasonable care to determine
the truth or falsity of the statement?
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 the statement tend to injure [name of plaintiff] in
[his/her/nonbinary pronoun] occupation?
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. Did [name of plaintiff] suffer Harm to [his/her/nonbinary pronoun]
property, business, profession, or occupation [including money
spent as a result of the statement]?
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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6. Was the statement a substantial factor in causing [name of
plaintiff]’s harm?
6. Yes No
6. If your answer to question 6 is yes, then answer questions 7 and
8. If you answered no, stop here, answer no further questions,
and have the presiding juror sign and date this form.
ACTUAL DAMAGES
7. What are [name of plaintiff]’s actual damages?
[a. Past economic loss, including harm to [name of plaintiff]’s
property, business, trade,profession, or occupation, and
expenses [name of plaintiff] had to pay as a result of the
defamatory statements
$]
[b. Future economic loss, including harm to [name of plaintiff]’s
property, business, trade,profession, or occupation, and
expenses [name of plaintiff] will have to pay as a result of the
defamatory statements
$]
[c. Past noneconomic loss including shame,mortification, or hurt
feelings, and harm to [name of plaintiff]’s reputation
$]
[d. Future noneconomic loss including shame,mortification, or
hurt feelings, and harm to [name of plaintiff]’s reputation
$]
TOTAL $
7. 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 8.
PUNITIVE DAMAGES
8. Has [name of plaintiff] proved by clear and convincing evidence
that [name of defendant] acted with malice, oppression, or fraud?
8. Yes No
8. If your answer to question 8 is yes, then answer question 9. If you
answered no, stop here, answer no further questions, and have
the presiding juror sign and date this form.
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9. What amount, if any, do you award as punitive damages against
[name of defendant]?
$
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,
May 2017
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.
If there is a dispute as to whether the statement in question 1 is one of fact or
opinion, an additional question or questions will be needed. See CACI No. 1707,
Fact Versus Opinion.
Multiple statements may need to be set out separately in question 1, and if separate
damages are claimed as to each statement, separate verdict forms may be needed for
each statement because all the elements will need to be found as to each statement.
Question 4 may be modified by referring to one of the other two grounds listed in
element 3 of CACI No. 1705, Defamation per quod - Essential Factual Elements
(Private Figure - Matter of Private Concern), depending on which ground is
applicable in the case.
If the affirmative defense of truth is at issue (see CACI No. 1720, Affırmative
Defense - Truth), include question 4 from VF-1704, Defamation per se - Affırmative
Defense - Truth (Private Figure - Matter of Private Concern). Additional questions
may be needed on the issue of punitive damages if the defendant is a corporate or
other entity.
Users may need to itemize all the damages listed in question 7 if, for example, there
are multiple defendants and issues regarding apportionment of damages under
Proposition 51.
Omit question 9 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
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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-1706-VF-1719. Reserved for Future Use
VF-1705 DEFAMATION
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