Citations Affected: IC 5-14-1.5-2; IC 34-6-2 ; IC 34-15-3; IC 34-15-4; IC 34-15-6.
Synopsis: Correction or clarification of defamation. Adopts the
Uniform Correction or Clarification of Defamation Act drafted by the
National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws.
Repeals defamation clarification statutes specifically applicable to
newspaper publishers, radio broadcasters, and television broadcasters.
Effective: July 1, 2000.
November 18, 1999, read first time and referred to Committee on Judiciary.
A BILL FOR AN ACT to amend the Indiana Code concerning civil
SECTION 1. IC
IS AMENDED TO READ AS
FOLLOWS [EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2000]: Sec. 2. For the purposes of
(a) "Public agency" means the following:
(1) Any board, commission, department, agency, authority, or other entity, by whatever name designated, exercising a portion of the executive, administrative, or legislative power of the state.
(2) Any county, township, school corporation, city, town, political subdivision, or other entity, by whatever name designated, exercising in a limited geographical area the executive, administrative, or legislative power of the state or a delegated local governmental power.
(3) Any entity which is subject to either:
(A) budget review by either the state board of tax commissioners or the governing body of a county, city, town, township, or school corporation; or
(B) audit by the state board of accounts.
under or is authorized by the laws of this state, another state, or a
(d) (e) "Person", for purposes of
, includes individuals at
least eighteen (18) years of age and emancipated minors.
(e) (f) "Person", for purposes of
, has the meaning set
(f) (g) "Person", for purposes of
, means any of the
(1) An individual.
(2) A corporation.
(3) A partnership.
(4) An unincorporated association.
(5) The state (as defined in IC 34-6-2-140 ).
(6) A political subdivision (as defined in IC 34-6-2-110 ).
(7) Any other entity recognized by law.
(g) (h) "Person", for purposes of
, means an individual,
a corporation, a limited liability company, a partnership, an
unincorporated association, or a governmental entity that:
(1) has qualifications or experience in:
(A) storing, transporting, or handling a hazardous substance or compressed gas;
(B) fighting fires;
(C) emergency rescue; or
(D) first aid care; or
(2) is otherwise qualified to provide assistance appropriate to remedy or contribute to the remedy of the emergency.
(h) (i) "Person", for purposes of
(1) an individual;
(2) an incorporated or unincorporated organization or association;
(3) the state of Indiana;
(4) a political subdivision (as defined in IC 36-1-2-13 );
(5) an agency of the state or a political subdivision; or
(6) a group of such persons acting in concert.
(i) (j) "Person", for purposes of sections 42, 43, 69, and 95 of this
chapter, means an individual, an incorporated or unincorporated
organization or association, or a group of such persons acting in
SECTION 5. IC 34-15-6 IS ADDED TO THE INDIANA CODE AS A NEW CHAPTER TO READ AS FOLLOWS [EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2000]:
Chapter 6. Uniform Correction or Clarification of Defamation Act
Sec. 1. The following definitions apply throughout this chapter:
(1) "Defamatory" means tending to harm reputation.
(2) "Economic loss" means special, pecuniary loss caused by a false and defamatory publication.
(3) "Person" means an individual, corporation, business trust, estate, trust, partnership, association, joint venture, or other legal or commercial entity. The term does not include a government or governmental subdivision, agency, or instrumentality.
Sec. 2. (a) This chapter applies to any claim for relief, however characterized, for damages arising out of harm to personal reputation caused by the false content of a publication that is published after June 30, 2000.
(b) This chapter applies to all publications, including writings, broadcasts, oral communications, electronic transmissions, or other forms of transmitting information.
Sec. 3. (a) A person may maintain an action for defamation only if:
(1) the person has made a timely and adequate request for correction or clarification from the defendant; or
(2) the defendant has made a correction or clarification.
(b) A request for correction or clarification is timely if made within the period of limitation for commencement of an action for defamation. However, a person who, within ninety (90) days after knowledge of the publication, fails to make a good faith attempt to request a correction or clarification may recover only provable economic loss.
(c) A request for correction or clarification is adequate if it:
(1) is made in writing and reasonably identifies the person making the request;
(2) specifies with particularity the statement alleged to be false and defamatory and, to the extent known, the time and place of publication;
(3) alleges the defamatory meaning of the statement;
(4) specifies the circumstances giving rise to any defamatory meaning of the statement that arises from other than the express language of the publication; and
(5) states that the alleged defamatory meaning of the statement is false.
(d) In the absence of a previous adequate request, service of a summons and complaint stating a claim for relief for defamation and containing the information required in subsection (c) constitutes an adequate request for correction or clarification.
(e) The period of limitation for commencement of a defamation action is tolled during the period allowed in section 6(a) of this chapter for responding to a request for correction or clarification.
Sec. 4. (a) A person who has been requested to make a correction or clarification may ask the requester to disclose reasonably available information material to the falsity of the allegedly defamatory statement.
(b) If a correction or clarification is not made, a person who unreasonably fails to disclose the information after a request to do so may recover only provable economic loss.
(c) A correction or clarification is timely if published within twenty-five (25) days after receipt of information disclosed under subsection (a) or forty-five (45) days after receipt of a request for correction or clarification, whichever is later.
Sec. 5. If a timely and sufficient correction or clarification is made, a person may recover only provable economic loss, as mitigated by the correction or clarification.
Sec. 6. (a) A correction or clarification is timely if it is published before or within forty-five (45) days after receipt of a request for correction or clarification, unless the period is extended under section 4(c) of this chapter.
(b) A correction or clarification is sufficient if it:
(1) is published with a prominence and in a manner and medium reasonably likely to reach substantially the same audience as the publication complained of;
(2) refers to the statement being corrected or clarified and:
(i) corrects the statement;
(ii) in the case of defamatory meaning arising from other than the express language of the publication, disclaims an intent to communicate that meaning or to assert its truth; or
(iii) in the case of a statement attributed to another person, identifies the person and disclaims an intent to assert the truth of the statement; and
(3) is communicated to the person who has made a request for correction or clarification.
(c) A correction or clarification is published in a medium reasonably likely to reach substantially the same audience as the publication complained of if it is published in a later issue, edition, or broadcast of the original publication.
(d) If a later issue, edition, or broadcast of the original publication will not be published within the time limits established for a timely correction or clarification, a correction or clarification
is published in a manner and medium reasonably likely to reach
substantially the same audience as the publication complained of
(1) it is timely published in a reasonably prominent manner:
(i) in another medium likely to reach an audience reasonably equivalent to the original publication; or
(ii) if the parties cannot agree on another medium, in the newspaper with the largest general circulation in the region in which the original publication was distributed;
(2) reasonable steps are taken to correct undistributed copies of the original publication, if any; and
(3) it is published in the next practicable issue, edition, or broadcast, if any, of the original publication.
(e) A correction or clarification is timely and sufficient if the parties agree in writing that it is timely and sufficient.
Sec. 7. (a) If a defendant in an action governed by this chapter intends to rely on a timely and sufficient correction or clarification, the defendant's intention to do so, and the correction or clarification relied upon, must be set forth in a notice served on the plaintiff within sixty (60) days after service of the summons and complaint or ten (10) days after the correction or clarification is made, whichever is later. A correction or clarification is considered to be timely and sufficient unless the plaintiff challenges its timeliness or sufficiency within twenty (20) days after the notice is served.
(b) If a defendant in an action governed by this chapter intends to challenge the adequacy or timeliness of a request for correction or clarification, the defendant must set forth the challenge in a motion to declare the request inadequate or untimely served within sixty (60) days after service of the summons and complaint. The court shall rule on the motion at the earliest appropriate time before trial.
Sec. 8. (a) If a timely correction or clarification is no longer possible, the publisher of an alleged defamatory statement may offer, at any time before trial, to make a correction or clarification. The offer must be made in writing to the person allegedly defamed by the publication and:
(1) contain the publisher's offer to:
(i) publish, at the person's request, a sufficient correction or clarification; and
(ii) pay the person's reasonable expenses of litigation, including attorney's fees, incurred before publication of the correction or clarification; and
of its refusal, and the contents of the offer are not admissible in
evidence at trial.
Sec. 11. This chapter shall be applied and construed to effectuate its general purpose to make uniform the law with respect to the subject of this chapter among states enacting it.
Sec. 12. This chapter may be cited as the Uniform Correction or Clarification of Defamation Act.
SECTION 6. THE FOLLOWING ARE REPEALED [EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2000]: IC 34-6-2-2 ; IC 34-6-2-33 ; IC 34-6-2-87 ; IC 34-15-3 ; IC 34-15-4.
SECTION 7. [EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2000] If any provision of IC 34-15-6 , as added by this act, or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the invalidity does not affect other provisions or applications of IC 34-15-6 , as added by this act, that can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of IC 34-15-6 , as added by this act, are severable.