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FAQs About Defamation, Libel and Slander

Virginia Beach lawyers provide answers

Established in 1980, The Law Office of Jeremiah A. Denton III is committed to achieving justice in the most challenging defamation cases. Our hard-hitting attorneys aggressively defend your reputation and demand compensation for the damages done to your good name by libelers and slanderers. Read our responses to frequently asked questions about defamation and then contact our office to schedule an appointment to discuss your individual case in detail.

Learn the answers to your defamation questions from our Virginia Beach law firm

To get the answers to your questions about defamation, call The Law Office of Jeremiah A. Denton III at 757-215-4818 or contact us online to schedule an appointment

Don’t people have a First Amendment right to say whatever they want?

The U.S. Constitution does not protect untruthful, damaging speech. Defamation is considered an exception to the First Amendment right to free speech.

Aren’t people entitled to their opinions?

Yes, people are even entitled to express their unreasonable and inflammatory opinions, as long as they do not disguise an untruthful, defamatory, verifiable statement of fact as an opinion.

A person published a hurtful statement about me that has harmed my reputation and cost me my job. Do I have a defamation action even though the information she disclosed is true?

Truthfulness of the statement is an absolute defense against defamation charges. If she proves — or you admit — that the statement is true, she will likely prevail on a defamation claim.

Can I sue for slander for the false and disparaging remarks another person made to and about me even though nobody else heard?

One of the elements of slander is that the statements be published to at least one other person, so statements made only to you are not considered defamation.

Are slander and libel the same?

Slander and libel are both forms of defamation and share most of the same elements. The primary difference between them is that slander involves oral communications, whereas libel occurs in a concrete form — such as print.

As a well-known politician, can I sue for defamation?

Public figures can sue for defamation, but they have a higher standard to meet than private figures. In order to prevail on your claim, you must show that the defendant acted with actual malice.

The local news broadcasted untruthful and damaging statements about me. Do journalists have special freedom of the press protection?

Freedom of the press is basically the same concept as freedom of speech. Defamation is an exception to this First Amendment right. Therefore, if the reporters knew or should have known that the information was false, you may have a cause of action for defamation.

Is there anything I can do to protect my teenager from harassment by another student who is spreading untruthful and damaging lies about him through Facebook and Twitter?

The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) has established strict guidelines for disciplining students who misuse the Internet or social media to harass or defame another student. In addition, several laws under the Code of Virginia address issues regarding cyberbullying, cyberstalking and cyberharassment. Our attorneys protect your teen from further defamation and advocate for the justice he or she deserves in the civil — and in severe cases, criminal — courts.

How can I find out who is posting maligning comments about me on the Internet?

Our tech-savvy lawyers remain up-to-date on the laws and methods for investigating and identifying the originators of anonymous defamatory posts. If you have a cause of action for defamation, we find and sue the person responsible.


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