The bill specifies the contents of a sufficient request and allows the publisher to request reasonably available information regarding the alleged falsity of the defamatory statement. The information must be provided to the publisher within 30 days of the request (limitations is tolled during this period). If the claimant does not furnish the requested information and cannot show good cause why the information has not been produced, the claimant may not recover exemplary damages.
Corrections, clarifications, or retractions are sufficient if published in the same or similar manner as the original publication. A defendant seeking to rely on a published correction must disclose the intention to the plaintiff within 60 days after service of the citation or within 10 days after the correction is made. A claimant must challenge the timeliness and sufficiency of a correction not later than 20 days after notice of the defendant’s intention to rely on the correction is served. A defendant may also challenge the timeliness and sufficiency of the claimant’s request for a correction, clarification, or retraction within 60 days after service of the citation. A trial judge must decide as a matter of law whether the claimant’s request for correction is timely and sufficient.
If a defendant makes a timely and sufficient correction, clarification, or retraction, the claimant may not recover exemplary damages, unless the original defamatory publication was made with actual malice. Generally, neither a request for a correction nor the fact that a correction was made is admissible into evidence, except in mitigation of damages. An offer to make a correction, clarification, or retraction is likewise inadmissible at trial.
HB 1759 applies to all publications, including writings, broadcasts, oral communications, electronic transmissions, or other forms of transmitting information. The bill calls for immediate effect and would apply to any information published on or after the effective date.