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Time Limits to File a Defamation Lawsuit: State Statutes of Limitation

An individual’s reputation is important. Any harm or shame to an individual reputation could have emotional and financial consequences, especially if the individual is a public figure. Naturally, individuals take defamation very seriously. Defamation is any false speech that causes harm to an individual’s reputation. The false speech has to be a statement of fact rather than opinion.

For example, “John Doe is an unfair police officer” is opinion because unfair is subjective standard. On the other hand, a statement of “John Doe is often drunk on the job” is more fact based. If the statement was false, the speaker could potentially face a defamation action. Like most injury claims, defamation claims are often subject to time limits known as statutes of limitations. The following list provides each state’s statute of limitations on defamation causes of actions.

ALABAMA A two-year statute of limitation applies to defamation actions.
ALASKA A two-year statute of limitation applies to defamation actions.
ARIZONA A one-year statute of limitation applies to defamation actions.
ARKANSAS A one-year statute of limitation applies to slanders actions, while a three-year statute of limitation applies to libel actions.
CALIFORNIA A one-year statute of limitation applies to defamation actions.
COLORADO A one-year statute of limitation applies to defamation actions.
CONNECTICUT A two-year statute of limitation applies to defamation actions.
DELAWARE A two-year statute of limitation applies to defamation actions.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA A one-year statute of limitation applies to defamation actions.
FLORIDA A two-year statute of limitation applies to defamation actions.
GEORGIA A one-year statute of limitation applies to defamation actions.
HAWAII A two-year statute of limitation applies to defamation actions.
IDAHO A two-year statute of limitation applies to defamation actions.
ILLINOIS A one-year statute of limitation applies to defamation actions.
INDIANA A two-year statute of limitation applies to defamation actions.
IOWA A two-year statute of limitation applies to defamation actions.
KANSAS A one-year statute of limitation applies to defamation actions.
KENTUCKY A one-year statute of limitation applies to defamation actions.
LOUISIANA A one-year statute of limitation applies to defamation actions.
MAINE A two-year statute of limitation applies to defamation actions.
MARYLAND A one-year statute of limitation applies to defamation actions.
MASSACHUSETTS A three-year statute of limitation applies to defamation actions.
MICHIGAN A one-year statute of limitation applies to defamation actions.
MINNESOTA A two-year statute of limitation applies to defamation actions.
MISSISSIPPI A one-year statute of limitation applies to defamation actions.
MISSOURI A two-year statute of limitation applies to defamation actions.
MONTANA A two-year statute of limitation applies to defamation actions.
NEBRASKA A one-year statute of limitation applies to defamation actions.
NEVADA A two-year statute of limitation applies to defamation actions.
NEW HAMPSHIRE A three-year statute of limitation applies to defamation actions.
NEW JERSEY A one-year statute of limitation applies to defamation actions.
NEW MEXICO A three-year statute of limitation applies to defamation actions.
NEW YORK A one-year statute of limitation applies to defamation actions.
NORTH CAROLINA A one-year statute of limitation applies to defamation actions.
NORTH DAKOTA A two-year statute of limitation applies to defamation actions.
OHIO A one-year statute of limitation applies to defamation actions.
OKLAHOMA A one-year statute of limitation applies to defamation actions.
OREGON A one-year statute of limitation applies to defamation actions.
PENNSYLVANIA A one-year statute of limitation applies to defamation actions.
RHODE ISLAND A one-year statute of limitation applies to slander actions. A three-year statute of limitation applies to libel actions.
SOUTH CAROLINA A two-year statute of limitation applies to defamation actions.
SOUTH DAKOTA A two-year statute of limitation applies to defamation actions.
TENNESSEE A six-month statute of limitation applies to slander actions. A one-year statute of limitation applies to libel actions.
TEXAS A one-year statute of limitation applies to defamation actions.
UTAH A one-year statute of limitation applies to defamation actions.
VERMONT A three-year statute of limitation applies to defamation actions.
VIRGINIA A one-year statute of limitation applies to defamation actions.
WASHINGTON A two-year statute of limitation applies to defamation actions.
WEST VIRGINIA A one-year statute of limitation applies to defamation actions.
WISCONSIN A two-year statute of limitation applies to defamation actions.
WYOMING A one-year statute of limitation applies to defamation actions.
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