Nolo's Plain-English Law Dictionary
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- Affirmative Defense
- When a defendant in a civil lawsuit files a response, usually called an "answer," the answer will state the defendant's denials of the claims made. In addition, the defendant may state affirmative defenses that excuse or justify the behavior on which the lawsuit is based. For example, an affirmative defense of "unclean hands" argues that the person bringing the lawsuit has acted badly in a way that should preclude any finding against the defendant.