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3.11-10  Defenses - Truth

Revised to January 1, 2008

As I have instructed you, the burden is on the plaintiff to prove that the defendant made the defamatory statement about (him/her).  Even if the plaintiff does prove that the statement was made, however, (he/she) cannot recover if the statement was, in fact, true.

In the defendant's answer, (he/she) raised the defense that the statement was true.  The defendant, thus, has the burden of proving that the statement was true.  The plaintiff does not have to prove that the statement was false.  To sustain this burden, the defendant must prove that the statements were substantially true.

The defendant's proof that the statements were true must be as to all of the libelous statements that you may find (he/she) made.  In addition, the statements must have been true at the time they were made, not true at an earlier time or prove to be true because of circumstances that occur after they were made. 

If the defendant does prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the statements (he/she) made were substantially true at the time that (he/she) made them, then (he/she) must prevail on his defense and your verdict should be for the defendant.

Authority

Goodrich v. Waterbury Republican-American, Inc., 188 Conn. 107, 112-13 (1982); Moynahan v. Waterbury Republican, Inc., 92 Conn. 331 (1918).

Notes

If the jury does not find that the defendant has proved the substantial truth of any statements made, they may still consider the evidence offered to refute a claim of malice or to refute a claim for punitive damages.
 


 

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