Trepanier MacGillis Battina P.A. 8000 Flour Exchange Building 310 Fourth Avenue South Minneapolis, MN 55415 612.455.0500
Trepanier MacGillis Battina P.A. 8000 Flour Exchange Building 310 Fourth Avenue South Minneapolis, MN 55415 612.455.0500

Minnesota Defamation Claims are not Tolled by the “Discovery Rule”

If you just discovered that you were defamed over two years ago your claim is barred.  That was the holding by the Court of Appeals in Kerber v. Recover Health of Minnesota, Inc., No. A-22-0278 (Minn. Ct. App. Sept. 6, 2022).  The pro se plaintiff in that case sued her former employer for discrimination and reprisal. She then sought to amend her complaint on March 13, 2021 to add a claim of defamation based on an email that was sent on October 3, 2017. The district court denied the motion to amend based on the two-year statute of limitations, Minn. Stat. Section 541.07(1). On appeal, the plaintiff argued that the court should have applied the “discovery rule” that tolls a statute of limitations until the plaintiff discovers the facts giving rise to the cause of action. The court noted that this rule has been applied to medical malpractice claims in Minnesota in which the physician prevents a patient from discovering a cause of action against the physician by fraudulent concealment. The appellate court noted that the Minnesota Supreme Court has declined to adopt this as a general rule in the absence of fraud and declined to “create new law.” The Court of Appeals therefore affirmed the decision to deny her motion to amend to assert a defamation claim.  This case provides clarity for defendants facing potential defamation claims arising more than two years in the past.

About the author:

V. John Ella is a Minnesota defamation attorney. He can be reached at 612.455-6237 or jella@trepanierlaw.com.

Trepanier MacGillis Battina is a Minnesota business law firm.