A New Hampshire jury has awarded three businessmen what is apparently the
largest monetary verdict in state history and what might be one of the
largest in the country this year.
After three days of trial a Merrimack County jury awarded a $275 million
verdict to three Manchester area men who were relentlessly defamed for
almost 3 years by Mortgage Specialist Inc.and its owner Mike Gill.
The trial was limited to damages as the Court had earlier determined that
as a matter of law, Gill and Mortgage Specialists Inc. had defamed AutoFair
owner Andy Crews, Manchester developer Dick Anagnost and Primary Bank
founder William Greiner.
“Michael Gill engaged in a three-year campaign of personal destruction.
He sought to destroy the reputations of three wonderful men by his false
statements on electronic billboards and on the internet. These men are
community leaders who have given greatly to their community” said
Steven M. Gordon, lead attorney for the plaintiffs of Shaheen & Gordon.
“Gill’s statements were evil. In our system of justice, facts
are determined in court rooms and not on the internet. We are grateful
and humbled by the jury’s verdict. The size of the verdict will
forever be the answer to Gill’s false statements. The enormity of
the verdict will begin the process of restoration and healing for the
Anagnost, Crews and Greiner families.”
Gordon presented closing arguments on Thursday to decide monetary damages.
He had asked the jury to award a total of $114 million to the three men.
The jury issued their verdict Friday morning after hearing from multiple
witnesses and reviewing hundreds of exhibits demonstrating how Gill had
used electronic billboards, social media and a radio show to defame the
three men, who were repeatedly accused of drug dealing, money laundering
and extortion. Witnesses from law enforcement also testified that despite
Gill’s claims on the internet he had not provided them with any
evidence of wrong doing. Other witnesses testified as to the corrosive
nature of Gill’s claims on the plaintiffs reputations. None of the
plaintiffs had any business dealings with Gill.
After deliberate review the jury awarded Andy Crews damages of $97 million
representing $35 million in compensatory damages, $12 million in special
damages and $50 million in liberal compensatory damages. Bill Greiner
was awarded $85 million, representing $35 million in compensatory damages
and $50 million in liberal compensatory damages. The jury awarded Dick
Anagnost$92.5 in damages, representing $35 million in compensatory damages,
$7.5 million in special damages and $50 million in liberal compensatory damages.
“We and our clients are grateful for the jury’s verdict,”
Shaheen & Gordon Attorney Timothy McLaughlin said. “For them,
the legal process was not their choice. They sought to avoid a lawsuit
and simply wanted Mr. Gill to stop his false statements, but he did not.
Today, Mr. Gill paid the penalty for his malicious conduct. The jury saw
first-hand the personal harm and pain his false statements caused and
today in the Merrimack County Superior Court justice was done. I am deeply
moved to be part of this process of redemption.”
Gordon and McLaughlin were assisted on the case by Attorneys Alex Campbell
and Anthony Carr and paralegal Jillian Keller.