Libel republished and statute of limitations.

Hi. I am being sued for "libel" posted online in March of 2009. The problem is that the statute of limitations ended in March of 2010 and the plaintiff clearly knew about the "libel" in March of 2009. He filed the lawsuit in October of 2010 after the statute of limitations had lapsed. The "libel" was reposted one year ago either by him or some automated software not. I had absolutely nothing to do with it. In 2010 I read somewhere about how the statute of limitations cannot be reset unless I manually and voluntarily republish libel. Can somebody tell me where that information is because I cannot find it anywhere. It may have even been case law. Thank you.

Phoenix, AZ -

Attorney Answers (1)

Edward C. Hopkins Jr.

Edward C. Hopkins Jr.

Libel / Slander Lawyer - Phoenix, AZ
Answered

The statute of limitations to bring a defamation claim in Arizona is one year after the cause of action accrues. See A.R.S. § 12-541.

But there are several things that could enable a plaintiff to bring a viable defamation claim after that one year statute of limitations expired. For example, since you published the statement on the internet, there could be personal jurisdiction laws that could make the plaintiff's defamation claim viable in a state other than Arizona. Also, whether the plaintiff discovered or was capable of discovering your online publication before the statute of limitations expired could be important questions in this case.

A defamation attorney would need to know more facts to give you a good answer. A defamation attorney can review your facts, analyze them, and then tell you whether the defamation claim against you is viable. As part of the attorney's analysis, he or she should determine whether qualified or absolute privileges could apply to the statement you published online in 2009.

Contact your insurance carriers to see if there is coverage for your legal defense. Consult a defamation attorney.

REPUBLICATION

The general rule in Arizona is someone who negligently republishes a libelous statement about another person may be held liable for defamation within a year of that republication. See Peagler v. Phoenix Newspapers, LLC, 131 Ariz. 308 (App. 1981). Someone could republish something negligently if he or she negligently failed to ascertain the truth beforehand. The person responsible for the republication in this case could be held liable for defamation depending on the facts.

Related Advice

Questions? An attorney can help.

Ask a Question
Free & anonymous.
Find a Lawyer
Free. No commitment.