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3.11-6  Damages - Retraction under General Statutes 52-237

New June 3, 2011

We have a statute in Connecticut which imposes some limits on the damages a plaintiff may recover in a libel case.

This statute gives the defendant the opportunity to publish a retraction of the writing that the plaintiff claims was libelous. If the defendant properly retracts the libel, the plaintiff's recovery is limited to those actual damages that (he/she) has specifically alleged and then proven.

You must find that four things happened before you may find that the defendant made a proper retraction:

  1. the plaintiff made a written demand for a retraction;

  2. the defendant published the retraction in as public a way as the original, allegedly libelous writing;

  3. the retraction is sufficient to refute the original writing; and

  4. the retraction was published within a reasonable time after the demand from the plaintiff.

If you find that the defendant has proven all four elements of a proper retraction, the plaintiff may only recover his special damages, which I will explain to you shortly.


General Statutes 52-237.


If this charge is given, it is strongly recommended that interrogatories on the issue are submitted to the jury. On many occasions, there will be no factual dispute as to one or more of the required elements, particularly 1 and 2, and this should be made clear to the jury.


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