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Swastika case: Judge sets deadline to find new lawyer

Union Leader Correspondent

December 26. 2017 11:13PM
Katherine Ferrier posted this photo in 2016 of a flour sack with a swastika in a now-closed Littleton store. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)

HAVERHILL — The Littleton shop owner who filed a lawsuit claiming she was driven out of business by a customer upset by her display of an antique flour bag with a swastika on it has until Jan. 2 to find a new lawyer.

On Dec. 12, Grafton County Superior Court Judge Lawrence MacLeod issued three orders in the case of Nicole Guida versus Katherine Ferrier, including one that allowed attorney Kirk Simoneau to stop representing Guida.

MacLeod also denied without prejudice a motion by Ferrier to hold a status conference on the lawsuit in light of Simoneau’s withdrawal and, until either Guida or a new attorney for her files an appearance, deferred acting on Ferrier’s motion for an appeal to put Guida’s lawsuit on hold while the matter is heard by the New Hampshire Supreme Court. Guida alleges in her lawsuit that on Nov. 26, 2016, Ferrier confronted her at her store, Chic & Unique antique shop on Main Street, after observing a 1912 Lucky Flour sack with a swastika on it.

During that initial encounter, Ferrier, according to the lawsuit, told Guida that the swastika was a symbol of racism and intolerance, but Guida maintained the swastika on the bag predated its use in Nazi Germany and was actually a symbol of good luck used by cultures around the world for many years.

Guida said that two days after the incident at the store, Ferrier posted comments about it on Facebook that defamed Guida, intentionally inflicted emotional distress, and interfered with her business to an economic detriment that led to its closure.

Ferrier has said her speech is protected by both the U.S. Constitution and New Hampshire Constitution and had previously sought, unsuccessfully, to have MacLeod dismiss Guida’s lawsuit.

But if Guida fails to make the Jan. 2 deadline, MacLeod wrote that “the court may take such action as justice may require.” In his Nov. 9 motion to withdraw, which was assented to by Ferrier and her attorney, Michael Lewis, Simoneau wrote that he “is no longer able to represent Nicole Guida consistent with (my) ethical responsibilities,” but did not elaborate.

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