As we’ve mentioned in our previous blog posts, defamation is extremely hard to prove in the United States because of our First Amendment rights. That being said, with a top law firm on your side, you have a much better chance of prevailing, or, on the flip side, of being defended.

Tate Bywater has been proudly serving the people of Prince William County with top law services for close to 50 years. We represent a lot of areas of law, including family law, bankruptcy, estate planning, whistleblower, criminal law, personal injury, and civil litigation. Our civil litigation lawyers now have three offices in Vienna, Fairfax, and Maryland to conveniently serve you. Below, we’ll continue our series on defamation by taking a look at common defenses against defamation. Contact us today for a free consultation!


Defamation is the written or spoken falsehoods against someone else, which causes harm to that person’s reputation. There can be a financial impact, as well as a social one. Because of the United States’ First Amendment right to free speech, you must prove that the act of defamation was intended with malicious intent. Common defenses are below.


We are all entitled to our opinions in this country, and we are free to say them as well. Defamation deals with facts, which can be proven to be true or false. Opinion, on the other hand, cannot be proven true or false because it is what someone thinks, which doesn’t have to be correct.

You cannot sue someone for stating their opinion about you. For example, if someone thinks you are lazy and says so, when you are not, there is nothing you can do about that. That is their opinion of you. All you can do is work to change their opinion, or just let it go, ignoring them.

However, opinions mixed with fact can be considered defamation where the facts are false. Furthermore, saying something was your opinion is not an adequate defense if the listener could reasonably understand the statement as a fact.

Tate Bywater notes that as you can see, there are many gray areas in the realm of defamation law, and the defense of opinion is the most frequently used.


This is a fairly straightforward defense for a claim of defamation. In defamation, the crux of the matter is that falsehoods are being spread. If it was indeed the truth being spread, the plaintiff has no claim, even if the truth does hurt. Claiming that what was said was false lies on the shoulders of the plaintiff.


Opinion and truth are the most common defenses in defamation cases. In these defenses, proving malicious intent then becomes imperative to win a defamation case if you are the plaintiff.

Tate Bywater helps those on both sides of the defamation coin. We defend those accused of defamation, and we help plaintiffs who are the victims of defamation. One of Tate Bywater’s principles is complete transparency throughout the entire legal process. We’ll tell you where we think you stand with regards to a favorable outcome. We’ll keep you abreast of the progress of your case, as well as our strategies we will be employing.

Defamation cases are notoriously difficult, and we here at Tate Bywater welcome the challenge. When you partner with us, you can rest assured we will work diligently on your behalf. In addition to your civil litigation case, our exceptional team also handles other cases, such as divorce cases, child support cases, alimony, bankruptcy, business and corporate law, and healthcare provider cases. Call our civil litigation lawyers today for a free consultation!