December 23, 2017
In a defamation lawsuit in October 2017, three men received a $274 million verdict from a New Hampshire jury after a radio talk show host and his associate claimed that the trio was dealing in weapons and heroin. In addition to radio shows, the defendant took out politically charged billboards and posted accusations online.
Previously, the largest record for a New Hampshire lawsuit stood at $21 million. This verdict eclipsed that award by more than 10 times. The jury deliberated on two separate days before returning the record-breaking verdict.
Broadcasts included specifically naming these men as heroin dealers and claiming that they became wealthy due to their involvement in the drug trade. Further allegations stated that the defendant had witnesses who saw the plaintiffs unloading weapons and drugs at their warehouse.
When the accusations first came forth, the plaintiffs did not immediately file a lawsuit. The defendant used this as further “proof” that they were guilty, stating that they would have sued him if he were lying. He further said that one of the plaintiffs had committed extortion.
At least two of the plaintiffs supported and directed a non-profit substance-abuse treatment program. The defendant also attacked these efforts, again claiming that the men were profiting from the heroin business and also profiting from dealing pot via the treatment center. He further labeled them as drug dealers who owned the New Hope Treatment Center. However, according to court filings, the legal name of the facility is “Hope for NH Recovery.”
The defendant’s associate, a political operative and a previous leader in the Republican party in the state, was sued separately as an individual. He settled the prior case for just over $1 million. He also resigned his political posts at the beginning of 2016.
In this day of technology, information — both true and false — can go viral and across the globe within hours, causing devastation to an innocent victim’s reputation and business. If you have been the victim of defamation, contact our experienced legal team to find out your rights.