How to file defamation lawsuit? Here’s how you can do it

“Prior to taking lawful action over slander or libel, make sure to get a sense of what the process will entail.”

What does defamation mean?

Defamation is a written or verbal false statement about someone whose outcome is some kind of torment. Either a statement is passed at a social gathering or something is put up online, it can still be called defamation (“slander” is verbal defamation, whereas, “libel” refers to written defamation). Nevertheless, if you come across a situation where you have decided to look forward to a civil lawsuit – in response to an individual who defamed you, then you must know “how to file defamation lawsuit.”

First schedule an appointment with a defamation attorney

The primary step that you need to take is – negotiating your legal possibilities and situations with a lawyer. You have to come along with a copy of the defamation claim or statement (if it’s in written form) to your first appointment. In case, the statement was done online, then show up with a page printout or any comments that cite it. Afterward, prepare a list of individuals who can have an idea or information about the claim.

If there comes a situation, when after receiving the defamatory statement you are about to claim harm that is done financially, then come along with documentations such as account/ contract termination notices, income tax information, pay stubs, bank account statements, or something else that depicts you have had a monetary loss. Ensure that you bring proof that the defamation attorney can review – it’s always good to be prepared beforehand. Indeed, these are the basic things that will help you file a defamation lawsuit more effectively.

Lastly, be truthful. It is very important that you form a trust-based relationship with your lawyer. That specifies negotiating facts that can be used negatively in your case. Similarly, your attorney needs to be aware of everything openly, so that chances of getting caught off guard at a later time can be minimalized.

How to file defamation lawsuit – The step towards filling it properly

The case begins with the complaint

As soon as you have a meeting with the lawyer and s/he has performed certain investigations that specify you have a workable case you need to file a complaint. You can easily do that in the civil court of your state. Similarly, with this complaint you can initiate a lawsuit.

Service, answer, and discovery

Shortly after filing the complaint, the defendant is given the lawsuit documents (complaint and summons) and has a limited timeframe to submit the response. 

Once the defendant submits the response, then the court sets a hearing date or a scheduling order. This period between the hearing date is known as the “discovery” stage. The parties involved can send interrogatories (set of written questions) via lawyers to exchange information. This step is important as both parties will learn more about each other and since they are legally bound to respond to the interrogatories with accurate information.

Moreover, the other party will request you to issue a specific document. Your lawyer will help you answer questions and collect documents. On some occasions, there are grounds that you can refuse to answer or hold back documents, and your lawyer can guide you about that.


A deposition is a sworn interview in which the other party’s lawyer asks questions to the defendant on your behalf. This is a chance to observe yourself and ascertain how strong your claim is, how a jury might recognize you, and what kind of witness you will make at trial. Your attorney will cater to your preparations. However, questions might be asked to some other witnesses as well, for instance, relatives, friends, or doctors who have know-how regarding your case.

How to settle defamation cases?

When you are done with the process of discovery, negotiations settlement generally starts at earliest as both parties have most of the data they need.

The decision to go to trial or to settle a case of defamation is certainly at the discretion of the plaintiff, but a lawyer’s suggestion can be pivotal. For dozens of reasons, lawyers may suggest settling even for the strong cases, relying on the scenario. There can be a possibility that you may get depressed or hesitant in sharing your private information in public. On the other hand, there can be a chance that things might be in your favor but the jury won’t be able to compensate your damages with awards, specifically in a situation where it is hard to determine the actual loss you have incurred.

Furthermore, some risk-averse or impatient people would preferably have something guaranteed that is available to them at the moment, than legally pursuing the case without any guaranteed returns. All such things are important to put under consideration, whenever the term settlement is being addressed.

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