Torts-Libel-Constitutionality of Retraction Statute Eliminating General Damages Recovery

Following publication of allegedly libelous statements made by defendants during a televised news broadcast, plaintiff commenced an action to recover damages. Defendants’ motion to strike the allegations of general and punitive damages was granted by the trial court since the complaint did not allege that defendants intended to defame plaintiff, or that defendants refused to publish a requested retraction of a non-intentional libel, both of which are conditions precedent to recovery of such damages under the Oregon statute. Plaintiff failed to plead further and judgment was entered for defendants. On appeal to the Oregon Supreme Court, held, affirmed. The plaintiff’s failure to comply with the statute for general damages recovery was fatal to the cause of action, and the substitution of a retraction for an allowance of general damages does not violate the Oregon Constitution or the fourteenth amendment of the federal constitution. Holden v. Pioneer Broadcasting Co., 365 P.2d 845 (Ore. 1961).