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What does a defamation lawyer do?

Stages of a Defamation Lawsuit: What Does a Defamation Lawyer Do?

By John DiGiacomo

If you have been the victim of some sort of defamation, you will need an experienced defamation lawyer to help you recover damages resulting from the defamation and help remove the defamation if the false statements are still online. Generally, defamation means that your reputation and/or business has been injured by false statements — intentional or negligent — made and published by another. As noted, you will need talented and dedicated defamation litigators like the ones at Revision Legal. Call us for a consultation about the defamation you have suffered at 231-714-0100 or 855-473-8474. Here is a discussion of the stages of a defamation lawsuit and what a defamation attorney does.

Stage 1: Consultation and Evaluation

Basically, consultation and evaluation are needed to determine if you have, in fact, been defamed. There are various statements that can be made that are not defamation. One example is a statement of opinion. The false statement must be one of fact — a fact that can be tested for truth or falsity. Certain other statements are privileged, like ones made in court and legislative settings. The statements might be false and injurious, but still, the law of defamation makes exceptions.

Stage 2: Drafting and Filing the Complaint (and Settlement Negotiations)

The next stage is to draft and file the actual Complaint that starts the litigation. A Complaint is a written document filed with the appropriate court. Among other things, the Complaint identifies the litigants, briefly sets out the legal claims, and lists some of the evidence that supports the legal claims. The Complaint is based on the facts adduced from the client consultations and review of documents. Often, prior to the actual filing, there are efforts to contact the defamers and seek a settlement.

Stage 3: Answering and Filing Motions

After the Complaint is filed and delivered to the defamers (called the defendants), the defendants are required to file a written document called an Answer. This briefly responds to the Complaint. Following the Answer, there is often a series of motions filed with the Court that request certain legal decisions. Motions are written requests to the Judge for these legal decisions. For example, the defendant could file a Motion to Dismiss the Complaint. This could be based on many grounds, including based on legal theories saying the Complaint is without merit or an argument that the Complaint has been filed against the wrong person/company.

Stage 4: Discovery

In modern litigation, litigants are required to develop, search for, exchange, and identify their evidence prior to trial. This is generally called discovery. The process involves:

  • Issuing and answering written questions
  • Taking informal oral testimony from witnesses
  • Issuing requests to review documents like reports, correspondence, emails, etc.
  • Requests to third parties for copies of documents and oral testimony
  • Requesting examination of property like an office (if applicable) or personal belongings (like a computer)
  • And more

Both sides of a lawsuit engage in discovery, and discovery overlaps the third and fifth stages.

Stage 5: Experts

Many modern cases involve the need for expert opinions. A common example is the need for the expertise of medical professionals in medical malpractice cases. Many times, defamation cases also involve the need for experts. For example, in business defamation cases, a claim can be made to recover lost profits and lost business opportunities. Those financial matters generally require the testimony and reports of financial experts.

Stage 6: Final Motions to Seek Verdicts Based on Defamation Law and Undisputed Facts

At the end of the discovery phase, in most lawsuits, there is an effort by one side (or both sides) to ask the Judge to resolve the case based on the law and an established list of undisputed facts. These motions are difficult to win but are often successful — either partially or in whole.

Final stage: Trial

The final stage in a defamation lawsuit is the trial. Most have seen a depiction of a trial in movies or television shows. There is some similarity, but without the Hollywood drama.

Contact The Defamation Attorneys at Revision Legal For more information, contact the experienced Defamation Lawyers at Revision Legal. You can contact us through the form on this page or call (855) 473-8474.

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