The statute of limitations for defamation is one (1) year. See A.R.S. § 12‑541. The Court of Appeals of Arizona has stated that the general rule is that the statute of limitations begins to run upon publication; however, the Court has also created an exception to the general rule and held that the statute of limitations may instead begin to run upon discovery “in those situations in which the defamation is published in a manner in which it is peculiarly likely to be concealed from the plaintiff, such as in a confidential memorandum or a credit report.” Clark v. Airesearch Mfg. Co. of Ariz., Inc., 138 Ariz. 240, 242 (Ariz. Ct. App. 1983).
By statute, the single publication rule applies in Arizona. See A.R.S. § 12-651. The statute provides, in pertinent part:
No person shall have more than one cause of action for damages for libel, slander, invasion of privacy or any other tort founded upon a single publication, exhibition or utterance, such as any one edition of a newspaper, book or magazine, any one presentation to an audience, any one broadcast over radio or television or any one exhibition of a motion picture. Recovery in any action shall include all damages for any such tort suffered by the plaintiff in all jurisdictions.
A judgment in any jurisdiction for or against the plaintiff upon the substantive merits of any action for damages founded upon a single publication, exhibition or utterance as described in subsection A shall bar any other action for damages by the same plaintiff against the same defendant founded upon the same publication, exhibition or utterance.
For a definition of the "single publication rule," see the Statute of Limitations for Defamation section of this guide.