March 10, 2011

Statute of Limitations for Internet Slander Cases | Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace

What is the statute of limitations for defamation?

I am an internet defamation attorney.  Every day. I get calls and emails from average people and companies who are defamed on-line with false statements on a web site, blog post or comment somewhere on the internet. Often, it is a disgruntled employee, competitor or adversary who decides to engage in defamation on the internet in order to achieve pay-back or retribution for some perceived grievance.

One of the first questions an attorney will ask is "when was the defamatory statement posted on the internet?" While there are sometimes exceptions, the general rule in most states is that you have one year to bring a lawsuit for defamation from the date of publication. The statute of limitations for internet defamation, libel, or slander cases in most states is one year. While the discovery rule and "re-publication" of the post or comment can extend the statute of limitations is some circumstances, you need to contact a defamation lawyer to understand how long you have to file a claim for libel in court before your time runs out. Continue reading to see the statute of limitations period for each state, including California, Texas, New York, Florida, Michigan and other states.

Here are the statue of limitation periods for defamation for each state.  Before you decide to sue for defamation, check with a qualified and experienced defamation of character attorney who understands the internet and internet law to understand what statute of limitations applies to your internet slander, libel, or defamation case. These limitations periods sometimes change so the information below should not be taken as legal advice on internet law.
ALABAMA 2 year statute of limitation for internet defamation, slander and libel.
ALASKA 2 year statute of limitation applies to internet defamation, slander and libel.
ARIZONA 1 year statute of limitation for defamation, slander and libel.
ARKANSAS 1 year statute of limitation applies to slanders actions. A 3 year statute of limitation applies to libel actions.
CALIFORNIA 1 year statute of limitation for internet defamation, slander and libel.
COLORADO 1 year statute of limitation applies to internet defamation, slander and libel.
CONNECTICUT A two-year statute of limitation for on-line defamation, slander and libel.
DELAWARE A two-year statute of limitation applies to on-line defamation, slander and libel.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 1 -year statute of limitation for on-line defamation, slander and libel.
FLORIDA  2 year statute of limitation in on-line defamation, slander and libel cases.
GEORGIA A one-year statute of limitation in on-line defamation, slander and libel cases.
HAWAII 2 year statute of limitation in on-line defamation, slander and libel cases.
IDAHO 2 year statute for on-line defamation, slander and libel.
ILLINOIS A one-year statute of limitation applies to web defamation, slander and libel.
INDIANA A two-year statute for web defamation, slander and libel.
IOWA 2 year statute for web defamation, slander and libel.
KANSAS A one-year in cases of web defamation, slander and libel.
KENTUCKY A one-year in cases of web defamation, slander and libel.
LOUISIANA A one-year in cases of web defamation, slander and libel.
MAINE 2 year in cases of web defamation, slander and libel.
MARYLAND A one-year statute to bring a lawsuit for web defamation, slander and libel.
MASSACHUSETTS 3 year statute of limitation to bring a lawsuit for web defamation, slander and libel.
MICHIGAN 1 year statute to bring a lawsuit for web defamation, slander and libel.
MINNESOTA A two-year statute to bring a lawsuit for internet defamation, slander and libel.
MISSISSIPPI 1 year statute of limitation applies to internet defamation, slander and libel.
MISSOURI A two-year statute of limitation applies to internet defamation, slander and libel.
MONTANA A two-year statute of limitation applies to internet defamation, slander and libel.
NEBRASKA 1 year to bring a lawsuit for internet defamation, slander and libel.
NEVADA A two-year to bring a lawsuit for internet defamation, slander and libel.
NEW HAMPSHIRE A three-year statute to bring a lawsuit for internet defamation, slander and libel.
NEW JERSEY 1 year to bring a lawsuit for internet defamation, slander and libel.
NEW MEXICO A three-year statute of limitation applies to internet defamation, slander and libel.
NEW YORK A one-year statute of limitation applies to internet defamation, slander and libel.
NORTH CAROLINA 1 year  limitation period for internet defamation of character.
NORTH DAKOTA A two-year limitation period for internet defamation of character.
OHIO A one-year limitation period for internet defamation of character.
OKLAHOMA 1 year statute of limitation applies to internet defamation of character.
OREGON 1 year statute of limitation applies to internet defamation of character.
PENNSYLVANIA 1 year statute of limitation  period for internet defamation of character.
RHODE ISLAND 1 year statute of limitation period for slander actions. A three-year statute of limitation applies to libel actions.
SOUTH CAROLINA A two-year statute of limitation applies to internet defamation of character.
SOUTH DAKOTA A two-year statute of limitation applies to internet defamation of character.
TENNESSEE A six-month statute of limitation period for slander actions. A one-year statute of limitation applies to libel actions.
TEXAS 1 year statute for  internet defamation of character.
UTAH 1 year statute for internet defamation of character.
VERMONT A three-year statute of limitation for internet defamation of character.
VIRGINIA 1 year statute of limitation for internet defamation of character.
WASHINGTON A two-year statute of limitation applies to internet defamation of character.
WEST VIRGINIA 1 year statute of limitation applies to internet defamation of character.
WISCONSIN A two-year statute of limitation applies forinternet defamation of character.
WYOMING 1 year statute of limitation applies for internet defamation of character.

COMMENTS

I have a Facebook person (I deactivated my account) trashing me, basically making statements that constitute Libel. I sent her a Cease & Desist letter. What if she doesn't comply?

I believe Missouri ruled that Injurious Falsehood had a 5 year statute of limitations. I have used this wording in my complaint. Does this help?

Understanding the statute of limitations in a defamation, slander or libel law matter is perhaps the most important thing that you need to understand. Especially on the Internet, libel can often occur long before you see it. But if there is a two-year statute of limitations and the blog post went up 3 years ago, you may be out of luck. More importantly, you need to act fast before various Internet vendors such as ISPs destroy IP information which you may need to identify the person who posted the defamation.

In an online defamation case it's prudent to assume your statute of limitations runs from the date of first publication. There are some states that recognize a publication of defamation occurs each day the online defamation appears online and the statute of limitations is tolled indefinitely until the publication is removed...but don't count on it. Online defamation issues can be more complex than they first appear. Consult an online defamation attorney specialist to protect your rights.

You have some good resources and advice on your little blog, you did a good job of weaving in a SEO targeted article with good info.

Please give me a call at your earliest convenience as there are a few cases that I may be able to refer to you. I tend to get a lot of first calls when people actually need attorneys.

With my kindest regards,
Michael Roberts
Victim's Advocate, Forensic Analyst and Litigation Support Consultant
www.rexxfield.com
www.FreeSpeechV3.org

Please listen to our recent interviews about internet libel: http://tinyurl.com/28aspc9

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I am not an attorney. Rexxfield is not a firm of attorneys and is not licensed to practice law in any jurisdiction. No attorney-client relationship will exist between myself, Rexxfield or any Rexxfield representative with any reader or other entity unless otherwise expressly agreed in writing with a licensed attorney acting on behalf of a such an entity. No visitor or reader of any content within this message should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content or by any author or administrator of content within this message, or any message or web site associated with Rexxfield or rexxfield.com or FSV3.org domains except in reliance upon the advice of a qualified, and more importantly experienced attorney.

As an internet defamation attorney, I am often asked whether an attorney licensed in Michigan can represent someone in another state. The simple answer is it depends. Only attorneys licensed to practice in a particular state can actually file a lawsuit in that state. Fortunately, all attorneys have the ability to associate with local counsel and be admitted pro hac vice (or for the particular lawsuit only).

While state law governs defamation of character and other online defamation issues, an experienced online defamation attorney should be able to help you given access to governing defamation case law.

Remember that not all attorneys understand issues in online defamation like online defamation attorneys. Therefore, a defamation internet issue may require the analysis and advice of an internet defamation lawyer from a different state.

In many states, the statute of limitations is 1 year for defamation, libel and slander claims. Because it is easy for defamation on the internet to get buried, and only become apparent to the person defamed until well after it is posted on-line, many victims of on-line libel are left to argue the 'discovery rule' which tolls the state until it is discovered by the victim. Plaintiff's are much better off working within the one year limit from publication, than arguing the discovery rule. It is important for you attorney to analyze the statute of limitation, communicate the statute to the client and for both the attorney and client to make educated decision about how to proceed.

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