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The Mortgage Specialists, Inc., v. Implode-Explode Heavy Industries, Inc.

Topic(s): Internet Free Speech - Right To Speak Anonymously
Date Of Involvement: 06/22/2009

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A mortgage company sued a blog for, among other things, allowing an anonymous speaker to accuse its president of fraud in a post on one it its message board. The blog removed the post but refused to promise to keep it off the board. The trial judge issued an injunction forbidding the reposting, and ordered the blog to provide information about the anonymous poster's identity. In an amicus brief supporting the blog's appeal, Public Citizen argues that a message board host is immune from suit for an injunction as much as a suit for damages, and that the order to identify the poster should be reversed because the plaintiff did not meet the Dendrite/Mobilisa/Cahill standard by giving the Doe notice of its subpoena and presenting evidence to support its claim of defamation. The New Hampshire Supreme Court agreed with our arguments, embracing the Dendrite standard as the proper procedural and substantive approach to balancing the right to sue over abusive Internet speech and the right to speak anonymously. The court decided that the injunction against the message board host was an improper prior restraint, and so it did not have to reach the issue of host immunity.