BECK & COMPANY, ET AL.
In this libel case, the jury awarded presumed damages
to plaintiff NuWave Investment Corp., and two of its
principals, Buckner and Ryan, in excess of $1 million in
total. The jury also awarded NuWave $1.4 million in
"actual" damages, rejected any award of actual damages to
the two principals, and awarded NuWave $250,000 in punitive
We affirmed the jury verdict on liability, but
remanded the matter for a new trial on damages. We
concluded that in light of the Supreme Court's recent
opinion, W.J.A. v. D.A., 210 N.J. 229 (2012), a jury may
award nominal presumed damages in a libel case, but it may
not make an award of both "actual" damages and presumed
damages. An award in excess of $1 million dollars in
presumed damages cannot stand.
We also concluded that the matter should be
remanded for a new trial on damages in light of the Model
Jury Charge which is, in some respects, inconsistent with
the Court's holding in W.J.A. and its discussion of damages
in defamation actions. As a result, we also vacated the
punitive damages award.
Lastly, we affirmed the dismissal of plaintiffs'
complaint against other defendants based upon the one-year
statute of limitations applicable to defamation suits,
finding that the "discovery rule" has been held to be
inapplicable to defamation actions. 09-19-13