Defamation is when someone speaks falsely about someone else, either verbally (slander) or in print (libel), that causes harm to someone else. Other words for defamation may be used, such as character assassination, disparagement (mostly used for businesses), traducement, vilification, or calumny. You may rarely hear famacide, which is someone who destroys someone else’s reputation. Defamation is a serious offense in the United States.

Tate Bywater is a top law firm in Prince William County in Virginia whose civil litigation lawyers have been helping those accused of defamation and those who have suffered from defamation for over 40 years. We have expanded over the years to have three law offices for your convenience, as well as helping to serve the District of Columbia and Maryland residents. We are proud of our reputation as a law firm willing to stand for others’ rights and who will go to bat for all of our clients. When you partner with us, we’ll do everything in our power to produce a favorable outcome. Below, we’ll take a look at what you must prove for your defamation case, as well as how to ultimately never be accused of defamation.


In our last blog post, we took an in-depth look at what exactly is defamation, libel, and slander. The United States is considered pro-defendant in the realm of defamation because of our First Amendment rights. In other countries, defamation is much easier to prove. Secondly, while the definition of libel and slander remains the same, defamation laws vary by state with some states criminalizing defamation. With the rise of the internet, proving defamation has become even more challenging because of the ability to remain anonymous and hide IP addresses, usernames, and other ways to track people. To sue for defamation, the plaintiff must show:

  • False assertion of fact.
  • Communication. The falsehoods was told to others or published somewhere.
  • Fault. Saying these falsehoods was a fault of the defendant, or at the very least negligence.
  • Damages. The plaintiff was damaged in some way, most often financially.


Ultimately, defamation comes down to not speaking badly about someone at any time. This should be something we all do more often since gossip and running others down is just plain not nice. There is a fine line between complaining about someone to stepping over that line and saying hurtful, untrue things about them. Probably at some point in your life you’ve been guilty of defaming someone — maybe even someone whom you loved. And with the internet and social media, it can be easy to get caught up in such behavior.

In the end, it’s defamation, and it’s wrong. Due to the fact US defamation law is so defendant-friendly, most people don’t do anything about defamation as the costs of litigation can be high and the odds of winning are not favorable.

Tate Bywater recommends you watch what you say and follow the Golden Rule of treating people how you want to be treated. That way, you’ll never have to worry about being sued for defamation of any time.


Tate Bywater represents both defendants and plaintiffs in defamation cases. We work diligently to win your case and gain just compensation if you’ve been defamed. Alternatively, we’ll defend someone suing you for defamation as well.

Tate Bywater is a top law firm in Prince William County that has many specialities, from family law and bankruptcy to personal injury and estate planning, as well as civil litigation lawyers. If you need a divorce lawyer, a bankruptcy lawyer, a litigation lawyer, or any other specialty, give our law firm a call. We offer free consultations and can help you get back to life. Call now!