The defendant in a high-profile defamation lawsuit in Grafton County is seeking a second opinion from the New Hampshire Supreme Court on whether the suit should go forward. It's the latest development in a case that questions how far free speech protections extend in the digital age.
Katherine Ferrier, the defendant, posted on Facebook last fall after seeing a swastika printed on a flour sack in a Littleton antiques store.
The post quickly spread online, and the shop's owner ultimately closed her store. She then sued for defamation, arguing the post resulted in a great deal of negative attention and hateful messages, all of which damaged her health.
In defense, Ferrier's attorney Michael Lewis has argued that Ferrier’s Facebook post is a constitutionally protected form of free speech. “Our client engaged in commentary on a public issue that is highly relevant right now, in a public forum,” Lewis said.
A Grafton County Judge denied Lewis’ motion to dismiss the case earlier this year. Lewis has now filed a motion for an interlocutory appeal, asking for a review of that decision by the Supreme Court.