Surprise: The Statute of Limitations Applies on the Internet, Too

We had to wonder what counsel for a plaintiff was thinking when we read an Associated Press report on a recent ruling by a federal judge in Texas involving the statute of limitations for libel when applied to cases involving postings on the internet.

An Ohio-based company, Nationwide Bi-Weekly Administration, sued the Dallas Morning News and a columnist for defamation. The one-year statute of limitations in Texas became an issue in the case, and the plaintiff argued that the one-year limit should not apply to postings on the internet the same way it does to traditional media. The court disagreed.

An attorney for the plaintiff complained that the one-year statute doesn’t work well given the fact internet search engines make an article easily accessible. “It’s not sitting in a library – it’s staying on the internet,” the lawyer was quoted as saying.

Like books, magazines and other media that could contain alleged defamatory material don’t continue to sit in a library and aren’t readily accessible for years to come?