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What is the statutes of limitations on defamation (libel) in Federal court?

Levittown, NY |

I used to work in NJ but reside in NY. Can I file in Federal Court? What are my chances of winning such a case? What are the statute of limitations for defamation? I have written proof and supporting documentation to disprove this libel. Are there any lawyers willing to take this case on contingency basis as I am financially strapped. The libel was conducted by my former employer who stated I was incompetent while I never received any warnings for the work I was doing for 8 years and had been promoted to AVP without the required college degree.

Attorney Answers 3


  1. Assuming you're suing in the New York courts, the statute of limitations is one year. I would not take a libel case of this nature under a contingent fee retainer.


  2. The statute of limitations in New York for defemation is one year from the date of utterance or publication. You do not provide enough information to judge whether I can take the case on a contingency basis. If the defemation is someone's opinion, you usually have no case. In addition, assuming you have a case, I would need to know how you have been damaged by it? Have you been unable to get another job because of it? Feel free to contact me.


  3. FYI these cases are very difficult to prove. Defamation can be filed in state court as well as federal court. While the company may have waived the college degree as a requirement for AVP in your case, the employer could certainly defend by saying once you were given the job you did not perform up to expectations. This is an OPINION and employers are certainly allowed to have opinions as to the competency of their staff. Also, if the information remained within the company, you would have to demonstrate how private information harmed your public life. NYS is an employment at will state; if you do not belong to a union, you can quit at any time and be laid off at any time. On my profile there are several legal guides. I recommend reviewing the following which may be helpful to you:

    Hiring a lawyer; Is it Legal? Is it Illegal?...Understanding the different court systems;
    Introduction to Legal terms used in litigation; Limitations on a Lawyer’s License: What a Lawyer Can and Cannot Do……………………………..…………………………..

    Employer/Employee Disputes

    LEGAL DISCLAIMER…………………………………………………………………..
    Mr. Sarno is licensed to practice law in NJ and NY. His response here is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/ client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter in question. Many times the questioner may leave out details which would make the reply unsuitable. Mr. Sarno strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in their own state to acquire more information about this issue.

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