Statute of Limitations for Defamation in California
Defamation means harming or damaging a person’s reputation by publishing false statements about them. A defamatory statement can be published on social media, websites, newspapers, television, and more. Each state has its own set of rules concerning defamation lawsuits.
You may be asking about your legal options if you believe you have a credible defamation claim against someone who has harmed your reputation. It is crucial to know your state’s defamation statute of limitations and how it applies to your possible case. If you are residing in California, this article is for you!
We will discuss defamation elements of California courts, defamation statute of limitations, and how you can write a cease and desist letter easily using DoNotPay without having to deal with the court and legal expenses.
What Is the Defamation, Statute of Limitations in California?
All states have a defamation statute of limitations, which means that you have the right to sue the defendant until a certain time.
The defamation statute of limitations in California is one year. This means that you can sue for defamation until one year after the statement is made by the other party. No matter how big your damages are, if you miss the deadline, the business or person you are suing will have the right to ask the court to dismiss the case.
The Single Publication Rule
The statute of limitations begins the day the defamatory statement is made. It is crucial to know that even though the statement can be republished, the limitation is not reset. You still have the same amount of time, because what matters is always the first statement.
Slander vs. Libel
|Slander||Slander is when a person or a business makes a defamatory statement by speaking, which can be through mediums such as radio or television.|
|Libel||Libel is when a person or a business makes a defamatory statement verbally through mediums such as social media, websites, or newspapers.|
Some states have different statutes of limitations for these different types of defamation, but California has the same statute of limitations for both slander and libel, which is one year.
The Discovery Exception to the Statute of Limitations in California
Even though the rules are strict about the statute of limitations in California, there is an exception made concerning the actual date that the plaintiff discovered the defamatory statement. This Discovery Exception Rule applies in situations where the plaintiff did not know about the statement until some time after the statute of limitations started running.
For example, you might have been wrongly accused by your co-worker at work, and as a result, got fired, but you did not know that you were accused by someone. After two years, one of your co-workers told you about the person who wrongly accused you and you wanted to file a lawsuit. Even though the California statute of limitations is one year, since you did not know about the situation until after two years, you will still have the right to sue the person in court.
Are There Other Ways to Extend the Defamation Statute of Limitations in California?
There might be different scenarios that can lead to the extension of the statute of limitations in defamation cases. Most of the states have different types of extension possibilities. California shares these extension possibilities with many other states:
- If the defendant moves to another state before the lawsuit can be filed against him, then the time spent away from California will most likely not be counted against the statutory deadline. Thus, the time stops when the defendant is absent.
- If the person, who was subjected to the defamatory statement was a minor or was regarded legally incapable at the time of the statement, the statute of limitations deadline clock will not start ticking until the individual reaches the age of 18 or is judged as legally competent.
Keep in Mind These Elements of Defamation in California Law
Some elements are required when you claim defamation in California, which are as follows:
- The statement should be published as a fact, not a mere opinion
- The statement must be false
- The statement must be unprivileged
- The statement has a natural tendency to injure or cause special damage
- the other party’s fault in publishing the statement amounted to at least negligence
For you to be successful with your case, all of these elements must be present. However, if you believe that you have a strong case, you should first write and send a cease and desist letter to the defendant, to let them know that you are going to sue them if they do not retract the statement or accept your demands.
Let DoNotPay Write Your Cease and Desist Letter
You need a strongly worded cease and desist letter to show the defendant that you are serious. Let DoNotPay write your letter in minutes! All you have to do is:
1. Search Defamation on DoNotPay.
2. Tell us about the following: whether the defamation is libel or slander, what the false statement was, how it was false, and the damages caused to you by the defamation.
3. Based on your state’s legislation and defamation law, DoNotPay will generate a professional cease and desist letter on your behalf.
That’s it! DoNotPay will generate the letter for you and all you have to do is send the letter to the defendant!
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