CACI 1709 Retraction: News Publication or Broadcast (Civ. Code, § 48a)

California Civil Jury Instructions CACI

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;


That [name of defendant]’s correction was not substantially as conspicuous as the original [publication/broadcast];


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

Crowdsource Lawyers

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 ‘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 (11th ed. 2017) Torts, §§ 735–744
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)
California Civil Practice: Torts §§ 21:55–21:57 (Thomson Reuters)