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.