Brief for Respondent
Title 7, Section 909 of the Code of Alabama:
"TRUTH OF THE WORDS, ETC., EVIDENCE UNDER THE GENERAL ISSUE.—In all actions of slander or libel, the truth of the words spoken or written, or the circumstances under which they were spoken or written, may be given in evidence under the general issue in mitigation of the damages."
Truth specially pleaded is an absolute bar to a civil libel action, Webb v. Gray, 181 Ala. 408, 62 So. 194; Ripps v. Herrington, 241 Ala. 209, 212, 1 So. 2d 899; Johnson Publishing Co. v. Davis, 271 Ala. 474, 124 So. 2d 441.
Title 7, Section 910 of the Code of Alabama:
"LIBEL OR SLANDER; DEFAMATORY MATTER.—In an action for libel or slander, it shall be sufficient to state, generally, that the defamatory matter was published or spoken of the plaintiff; and if the allegation be denied, the plaintiff must prove, on the trial, the facts showing that the defamatory matter was published or spoken of him."
Title 7, Section 913 of the Code of Alabama:
"RETRACTION MITIGATES DAMAGES.—The defendant in an action of slander or libel may prove under the general issue in mitigation of damages that the charge was made by mistake or through inadvertence, and that he has retracted the charge and offered amends before suit by publishing an apology in a newspaper when the charge had been thus promulgated, in a prominent position; or verbally, in the presence of witnesses, when the accusation was verbal or written, and had offered to certify the same in writing."
Title 7, Section 914 of the Code of Alabama:
"AGGRIEVED PERSON MUST GIVE NOTICE TO PUBLISHERS OF ALLEGED LIBEL BEFORE VINDICTIVE DAMAGES CAN BE RECOVERED.—Vindictive or punitive damages shall not be recovered in any action for libel on account of any publication concerning the official conduct or actions of any public officer, or for the publication of any matter which is proper for public information, unless five days before the bringing of the suit the plaintiff shall have made written demand upon the defendant for a public retraction of the charge or matter published; and the defendant shall have failed or refused to publish within five days in as prominent and public a place or manner as the charge or matter published occupied, a full and fair retraction of such charge or matter."
Title 7, Section 915 of the Code of Alabama:
"WHEN ACTUAL DAMAGES ONLY RECOVERABLE.—If it shall appear on the trial of an action for libel that an article complained of was published in good faith, that its falsity was due to mistake and misapprehension, and that a full correction or retraction of any false statement therein was published in the next regular issue of said newspaper, or in case of daily newspapers, within five days after service of said notice aforesaid, in as conspicuous a place and type in said newspaper as was the article complained of, then the plaintiff in such case shall recover only actual damages."
Title 7, Section 916 of the Code of Alabama:
"RECANTATION AND TENDER; EFFECT OF.—If the Defendant, after or before suit brought, make the recantation and amends recited in the preceding sections, and also tender to the plaintiff a compensation in money, and bring the same into court, the plaintiff can recover no costs, if the jury believe and find the tender was sufficient."
Title 7, Section 917 of the Code of Alabama:
"EFFECT OF TENDER RECEIVED.—The receipt of the money tendered, if before suit brought, is a bar to the action; if after suit, releases the defendant from all damages and costs, except the costs which accrued before the tender and receipt of the money."
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