What is the statute of limitations on a Defamation claim?

Defamation is defined as the act of damaging another individual’s good reputation or character, which is typically categorized into slander or libel. 

Under the Florida Statutes §95.11, the clock starts ticking on a defamation claim the minute that the defamatory statements are made. This is a pretty strict guideline compared to some other states, so it is important to be weary of this deadline so that you file a timely claim.

What are examples of defamatory actions that trigger the statute of limitations clock?

To prove a defamation claim, an individual must be able to prove:

  1. The defendant published or stated a false statement;
  2. About a plaintiff;
  3. To a third party; and
  4. The falsity of the statement caused injury to the plaintiff.

Slander is defamation in oral or spoken form, and libel is defamation in written form.

Some examples of slander include lying about another person’s restaurant such as saying that their kitchen is infested with bugs, when it is not, or spreading rumors about an individual such as saying that they have a sexually transmitted disease, when they do not. Slander can be more difficult to prove than libel because it is only spoken, not written, so it is hard to obtain evidence. But, if you have a reliable witness, or witnesses, that can vouch for you that an individual was defaming you by spreading lies or rumors, then it is important to have them know the exact date in which they heard the slander from the defendant, so you know when the statute of limitations clock started ticking.

Some examples of libel include writing a review on a restaurant’s website stating that the food gave you food poisoning when it did not, or, the most common example, magazines writing false information or rumors about celebrities in their weekly magazine publication. Libel is easier to prove than slander because you generally have access to the written defamation, and if it’s a published article it will almost always have a date, so you are aware of when the statute of limitations clock started.

EPGD Business Law is located in beautiful Coral Gables, West Palm Beach and historic Washington D.C. Call us at (786) 837-6787, or contact us through the website to schedule a consultation.

*Disclaimer: this blog post is not intended to be legal advice. We highly recommend speaking to an attorney if you have any legal concerns. Contacting us through our website does not establish an attorney-client relationship.*

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Eric Gros-Dubois

Eric P. Gros-Dubois founded EPGD Business Law in 2013 and is the current head of the firm’s corporate, estate planning, and tax practice, and manages the firm’s Washington D.C. office. With a JD and MBA, and a specialization in finance, Eric is able to step back and view the legal world through a commercial lens while also acting as a trusted business advisor for his clients. He does his best to be solutions oriented, and tries to think like a business owner, not just a lawyer.


*The following comments are not intended to be treated as legal advice. The answer to your question is limited to the basic facts presented. Additional details may heavily alter our assessment and change the answer provided. For a more thorough review of your question please contact our office for a consultation.

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