Philadelphia, PA asked in Libel & Slander and Civil Litigation for California

Q: Does the TOLLING OF CALIFORNIA'S STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS apply in my situation?

I'm currently a PA resident, and a CA resident gave me a cease-and-desist letter, expressing his intent to sue me for libel (because of an online petition I wrote about him in February 2016).

However, I learned that California's statute of limitations for libel is 1 year, but it can be tolled if the defendant (me) is out of state. My only connection to California is my parents, who live there, and that San Francisco is my birth city. I've permanently lived out of California since 2007.

Does the tolling of California's statute of limitations apply to me? (A yes/no answer would be most helpful.) Thank you in advance for replying.

2 Lawyer Answers
Jonathan S. Dennis
Jonathan S. Dennis
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: A defamation (libel and/or slander) lawsuit must be filed within one year after the defendant first communicated each defamatory statement to a person other than the plaintiff. See California Code of Civil Procedure § 340(c).

There are exceptions, but not because a Defendant is out of state. Please note, because of COVID, California Courts issued Emergency Rules and have extended the SOL. Please see emergency rule 9. https://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/appendix-i.pdf

1 user found this answer helpful

Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II
Answered
  • Newport Beach, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: You want a Yes/No answer from an Attorney??? Are you daft??? Our favorite answer is "MAYBE" as Mr. Dennis' response demonstrates, and that is because there are usually more than 2 factors to be considered. Besides, we get paid by the word, didn't you know? So your answer is Maybe, but not because you are out of state. Tolled because of COVID. So depends on when defamation was first communicated to the public/ person other then Plaintiff, and if you published it online in 2016, the answer seems to move more toward "probably".

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