Time Limits to File a Defamation Lawsuit

Understand the statutory time limits for filing a defamation lawsuit in your state.

By , J.D.

Each state has laws called "statutes of limitations," and in these laws you'll find a time limit for the filing of different kinds of cases. Anyone who wants to bring a lawsuit in their state's civil court system needs to understand and abide by the statute of limitations.

In the context of injuries from defamation -- including harm to your reputation, financial losses, and other damages -- if the time "window" closes before you get your libel or slander lawsuit filed, the court will almost always throw the case out as time-barred under the statute. That means you'll lose your right to a civil remedy over the matter. So it's easy to understand why it's crucial to pay attention to these laws.

Check out the list below for the details on the defamation statute of limitations in your state.

To learn more about the legal requirements (and financial considerations) to file a defamation lawsuit, see Can You Sue for Defamation?

Defamation Statute of Limitations State-by-State

State Statute of Limitations
Alabama 2 years
Alaska 2 years
Arizona 1 year
Arkansas 3 years
California 1 year
Colorado 1 year
Connecticut 2 years
Delaware 2 years
Washington, District of Columbia 1 year
Florida 2 years
Georgia 1 year
Hawaii 2 years
Idaho 2 years
Illinois 1 year
Indiana 2 years
Iowa 2 years
Kansas 1 year
Kentucky 1 year
Louisiana 1 year
Maine 2 years
Maryland 1 year
Massachusetts 3 years
Michigan 1 year
Minnesota 2 years
Mississippi 1 year
Missouri 2 years
Montana 2 years
Nebraska 1 year
Nevada 2 years
New Hampshire 3 years
New Jersey 1 year
New Mexico 3 years
New York 1 year
North Carolina 1 year
North Dakota 2 year
Ohio 1 year
Oklahoma 1 year
Oregon 1 year
Pennsylvania 1 year
Rhode Island 1 year
South Carolina 2 years
South Dakota 2 years
Tennessee libel 1 year; slander 6 months
Texas 1 year
Utah 1 year
Vermont 3 years
Virginia 1 year
Washington 3 years
West Virginia 2 years
Wisconsin 3 years
Wyoming 1 year

For more on these types of civil injury cases, see AllLaw's section on Libel & Slander Claims.

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