2005 Connecticut Code - Sec. 52-237. Damages in actions for libel.

      Sec. 52-237. Damages in actions for libel. In any action for a libel, the defendant may give proof of intention; and unless the plaintiff proves either malice in fact or that the defendant, after having been requested by the plaintiff in writing to retract the libelous charge, in as public a manner as that in which it was made, failed to do so within a reasonable time, the plaintiff shall recover nothing but such actual damage as the plaintiff may have specially alleged and proved.

      (1949 Rev., S. 7983; P.A. 03-19, S. 118.)

      History: P.A. 03-19 made technical changes, effective May 12, 2003.

      "Malice in fact" defined. 27 C. 27, 28; 106 C. 132. Publishing a false charge of crime against another, in a newspaper, proves such malice. 30 C. 419. Evidence of special damage. 27 C. 26; 30 C. 419. "Malice in fact" is not malignity or personal ill will, but an improper and unjustifiable motive. 57 C. 73; 85 C. 24; 88 C. 251. What evidence admissible as a justification under "proof of intention". 57 C. 92. Circumstances held to justify a finding of "malice in fact". 60 C. 491. Existence of malice in fact is for the trial court. 60 C. 493; 87 C. 222. Proof of malice considered in reference to the claim of a privileged communication. 66 C. 175; 67 C. 510; 81 C. 293; 85 C. 24; 87 C. 220; 91 C. 430; 106 C. 132. Rule of damages where no special damages proved. 85 C. 23; 79 C. 523; 107 C. 123. Repetition of words as evidence of actual malice. 86 C. 261. Exemplary damages proper when. 72 C. 731. Privilege. 64 C. 223; 72 C. 335; 78 C. 365; 88 C. 247. Defendant may testify to motive or feeling prompting his conduct. 91 C. 432. Words libelous per se; presumption of malice and damages; compensatory and punitive damages where actual malice shown; 92 C. 236; 107 C. 123; effect of privileged occasion as to malice; actual malice question of fact. 92 C. 331. Cited. 97 C. 38; 106 C. 129. Libel per se against attorney. 106 C. 131. Words slanderous per se will support substantial recovery without proof of special damage. 107 C. 123. A charge of a person having committed a crime is libelous per se, from which the law presumes damage without special proof. 113 C. 580. When a libel is expressed in clear and unambiguous terms, the question whether it is libelous per se is one of law for the court. 136 C. 557. No basis for appeal where plaintiff failed to make clear objections to charge by court below concerning effect of statute. 157 C. 507. Cited. 162 C. 388.

      Cited. 11 CA 584, 604-606. Cited. 25 CA 16, 18.

      If special damages are not alleged, malice in fact must be proved. 15 CS 448. A libel is actionable per se if it charges improper conduct or lack of skill or integrity in one's profession or business and is of such a nature that it is calculated to cause injury to one in his profession or business. 22 CS 248. The essential elements of a qualifiedly privileged communication are good faith, an interest to be upheld, a statement limited in its scope to that purpose, a proper occasion, and publication in a proper manner to proper parties. Id. Cited. 33 CS 4.

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