Mortgage Specialists v. Implode-Explode Heavy Industries, Inc., No. 08-E-0572 (N.H. Super. 2008).
Status: Appeal of order to disclose sources pending.

In October 2008, defendant "Mortgage Lender Implode-0-Meter" blog reported that plaintiff mortgage company The Mortgage Specialists was in trouble with the New Hampshire Banking Department for alleged improper mortgage activities. The report included a "2007 Loan Chart" that The Mortgage Specialists had filed with the banking department, as required by New Hampshire law. The law also provides that the chart "shall not be made public" without an overriding reason determined by the banking department.

Within a few days, a commenter using the name "Brianbattersby" posted comments on the "Implode-0-Meter" site, accusing the president of The Mortgage Specialists of fraud.

Mortgage Specialists sent the site a cease-and-desist letter as to the chart. The site removed the chart, but not the accompanying story, and reserved the right to republish the chart. The company sought the identity of the source of the story, including the loan chart, and the identity of "Brianbattersby." The web site refused to identify the source and the commenter, so Mortgage Specialists sued.

In March 2009, a Superior Court judge ordered the site to disclose the information, holding that "The maintenance of a free press does not give a publisher the right to protect the identity of someone who has provided it with unauthorized or defamatory information."

The site, with the support of various amicus, has appealed to the New Hampshire Supreme Court.

Case Information and Documents:

No comments: