Retraction Law in Texas

Note: This page covers information specific to Texas and should be read in conjunction with the general section on retraction in the section on Correcting or Retracting Your Work After Publication which has additional information applicable to all states.

Texas has a retraction statute, Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 73.003, that applies to libel "expressed in written or other graphic form." The statute does not require that the publication has to be in a specific medium (e.g. print only), which leaves open the possibility that the statute may cover an online publication. See Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 73.001.

Handling Requests to Remove or Retract Material in Texas

If someone contacts you with a retraction request, you should first determine whether a retraction is warranted; review the steps under the handling a retraction request section of this guide for help in making this assessment. If you determine that a retraction is appropriate, you should publish one so that you can avail yourself of the statutory benefit of limiting potential defamation damages.

If you issue a "public apology, correction, or retraction" of a false statement and you are found to be liable for defamation, the plaintiff's ability to recover damages from you will be limited. Under the Texas retraction statute, you will be able to use your retraction to show your good faith and the jury will be able to consider your retraction in determining the "extent and source" of the plaintiff's actual (economic) damages and to mitigate exemplary damages, which will benefit you in a defamation suit.

Even if your online publishing activities do not fall within the scope of Texas' retraction statute, your willingness to correct past errors in your work will provide several benefits. It will make your work more accurate and reliable, which will increase your credibility, influence, and (hopefully) your page views. It will also diminish the likelihood of your being sued in the first place, as it might placate the potential plaintiff. Furthermore, courts and juries may find a retraction shows your good faith.


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