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After legal challenge, Oberlin College withdraws subpoena seeking our journalist communications

After legal challenge, Oberlin College withdraws subpoena seeking our journalist communications

Subpoena sought communications relating to our reporting on a lawsuit brought by Gibson’s Bakery against Oberlin College.

http://interactive.tegna-media.com/video/embed/embed.html?id=2421497&type=video&title=Store%20shoplifting%20incident%20sparks%20protests&site=95&playerid=6918249996581&dfpid=32805352&dfpposition=Video_prestream_external%C2%A7ion=home

Oberlin College served a subpoena duces tecum on us, seeking our communications with sources related to our reporting on a lawsuit by Gibson’s Bakery against the college and its Dean of Students, Meredith Raimondo.

We went to court seeking to quash the subpoena and for a protective order, as we described in our prior post, Oberlin College subpoenas journalist’s communications (ours):

As readers are aware, Legal Insurrection has reported more extensively on events at Oberlin College over the past several years than almost any other website.

Among other things, Legal Insurrection has engaged in reporting on the following issues related to Oberlin College:

In addition to the issues listed above, Legal Insurrection also has reported on a dispute between Oberlin College and a local bakery, Gibson’s Bakery, in Oberlin, Ohio….

In the Gibson’s lawsuit, Oberlin College served subpoenae upon counsel for Gibson’s Bakery, seeking, among other things, communications between Gibson Bakery’s lawyers and the media….

The Ohio court denied Oberlin College’s motion to compel, and granted plaintiffs’ attorneys’ motion for a protective order….

Having been denied access to the communications by the Ohio court, Oberlin College served a Subpoena Duces Tecum (pdf.) in New York State on WAJ Media LLC (the entity that does business as Legal Insurrection).

The Subpoena purports to seek records to which the Ohio court already has denied Oberlin College access, namely, communications between the attorneys for Gibson’s Bakery and WAJ Media….

The attempt to gain access to our communications with sources posed a threat to our ability to report on present and future controversies at Oberlin College, so we sued.

We have gone to court in New York State Supreme Court,  Tompkins County, seeking a protective order and to quash the Subpoena on the grounds, among others, that our communications are protected by the New York State constitution and common law, and the New York Press Shield Law.

See the Affirmation of Wiliam J. Troy, III, Esq. (pdf.) and Memorandum of Law (pdf.)….

The Judge assigned to the case has signed an Order to Show Cause (pdf.)… setting a hearing for August 17. This Order to Show Cause is not a ruling on the merits, but a scheduling order.

Oberlin College’s Ohio legal counsel in the Gibson’s case has notified our counsel that the Subpoena was being withdrawn in response to our legal challenge. That withdrawal was confirmed yesterday in a letter to the court (pdf.) from Oberlin College’s New York counsel:

Dear Mr. Troy:

May this correspondence confirm that consistent with your conversation with William Doyle, Oberlin College’s Ohio counsel, Oberlin College is withdrawing the subpoena issued to WAJ Media LLC dated June 7, 2018 in the Gibson Brothers, Inc. vs. Oberlin  College et al matter (Supreme Court: County of Lorain Case No: 17-CV-193761). As a consequence, this should obviate the necessity of the hearing on August 17, 2018 at 9:30 a.m. before Hon. Gerald A. Keene. We will assume unless otherwise advised that the hearing is cancelled.

By copy of this correspondence we are advising Judge Keene of the withdrawal of the subpoena.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call.

Very truly yours,

BOND, SCHOENECK & KING, PLLC

Shout out to Bill Troy, Esq., Legal Insurrection reader, Ithaca attorney, and trial lawyer, for assisting us in protecting our communications from prying eyes.

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Comments

casualobserver | July 19, 2018 at 1:51 pm

Diligence and doing the right thing pays off. Maybe the jurisdiction helped too….

Can I call BS&K and ask how it is statistically possible to have over 3000 people in the immediate Oberlin College community, and not one of them has enough of a clue, still, to realize that they screwed up and probably should be getting down on their knees and apologizing. I am not sure at this point whether it is delusion or arrogance which fuels their position, but neither is pretty. Perhaps in the future, once this is painfully settled, the leftists will realize that it might be a good idea to listen to those with a bit of common sense. It might also be a good time to replace “learning and labor” with “pause when agitated.”

    maxmillion in reply to MajorWood. | July 19, 2018 at 2:07 pm

    Nowadays in academia it appears the patients are running the asylum.

      MajorWood in reply to maxmillion. | July 20, 2018 at 6:35 pm

      Perusing the college rag turned up this ‘gem.” One step closer to the inmates running the place

      https://oberlinreview.org/13000/news/13000/

      The best part to me was: Several senators speculated that the revised phrasing of the proposal, and the support from Dean of Students Meredith Raimondo and the student body, convinced the trustees to accept the proposal.

      With a police officer, after a shooting, you take away their gun for awhile and place them on administrative duties. I guess with an administrator, there is no way to disarm them to prevent further potential harm. The continued cluelessness to the pickle that they got themselves into just astounds me.

Fighting fire with fire: works every time.

Now: please continue the coverage.

I think Oberlin’s attorneys are realizing that they can’t fight a thousand fires in a thousand different spots. So it’s probably a good idea for them to stop lighting them.

Ain’t it fun?

Called that bluff! It is tough when they can’t threaten your grades or record with the kind of BS they use on students.

BOND, SCHOENECK & KING, PLLC get paid to file the subpoena and they get paid to withdraw the subpoena. Perhaps the strategy is to pay the lawyers. In that case, they were successful. Oberlin may be a clueless fool in this filing against LI as they pay the lawyers. OK, perhaps they are deliberate fools. It’s not their personal money.

    MajorWood in reply to TX-rifraph. | July 20, 2018 at 5:46 pm

    Are contributions to pay the college’s legal fees tax deductible? The lawsuit hasn’t been mentioned in any recent solicitations that I have received, and probably for good reason. It wouldn’t surprise me if their in-house strategy was “ssshhh!”

    MajorWood in reply to TX-rifraph. | July 20, 2018 at 6:04 pm

    Are contributions to pay the college’s legal fees tax deductible? The lawsuit hasn’t been mentioned in any recent solicitations that I have received, and probably for good reason. It wouldn’t surprise me if their in-house strategy was “ssshhh!”

    I did notice an article in the student paper of a proposal to establish a student legal-aid service, at a cost of $30K/yr to assist students with legal issues. I, of course, think that for way way less they could hire an inspirational speaker to come once or twice a year to extol the virtue of “not stealing” in the first place. I suspect the option which increases administrative overhead the most will win out.

I am amazed that overpriced ($52K tuition only) liberal arts colleges like Oberlin survive.

    txvet2 in reply to bw222. | July 19, 2018 at 3:22 pm

    Part of the story is that they may not survive.

    artichoke in reply to bw222. | July 20, 2018 at 10:18 am

    So you don’t get into higher ranked LAC’s or the Ivy’s, you don’t want your state U, but you did pretty well on PSAT or SAT enough to get on a mailing list the colleges purchase from College Board. You are impressed by the very finely tuned PR from Oberlin. Some colleges must have huge PR budgets. Tulane is the worst but Oberlin’s up there, in our experience.

    U. of Chicago is advertising heavily, and it’s kept their application numbers up despite the further deterioration of their neighborhood situation. Unlike Cambridge MA and New Haven CT, UC has been prevented from buying up the surrounding parts of Hyde Park, specifically because neighborhood activists have watched like hawks to prevent UC from insulating itself. Now UC has gone test-optional and canceled alumni interviews. Will the market take that too? We’ll see, but I guess they’ll intensify their advertising any more.

    Out of the zillions of colleges in the country teaching mostly the same things (in majors they offer, anyway) a few of them market like crazy. Oberlin is one of them.

      Anonamom in reply to artichoke. | July 20, 2018 at 11:13 am

      U. of Chicago is a bit different, though, as it still has a good reputation for academics. People go there DESPITE the location; it’s not like the issues are not well-known.

Colonel Travis | July 19, 2018 at 2:53 pm

Bravo.
Keep fighting the good fight.

More evidence of Oberlin’s poor judgement.

“Hey guys, let’s employ lawfare to intimidate, silence and punish a blog site called Legal Insurrection!”

They would have better success threatening a Navy Seal with violence.

    Milhouse in reply to Fen. | July 20, 2018 at 2:29 am

    You have no foundation for that allegation. There is no evidence or even reason to suppose there was any hostile intention to LI. The defendants were simply trying to get the evidence they think will support their defense, exactly as the Ohio court invited them to do.

Liberty Bell | July 19, 2018 at 3:24 pm

With travel time, it would have been an expensive day for Oberlin’s Buffalo law firm to appear in Supreme Court in Tompkins County — on what would most likely be a losing venture.

    counsel in reply to Liberty Bell. | July 19, 2018 at 3:37 pm

    Let’s see — about 6 hours of travel time to Ithaca round trip. Probably for to attorneys. The cost of mileage and waiting time. The cost of preparing an Affidavit in Opposition. Just addressing the estoppel issue would require transcripts (more cost) and time.

    That’s a lot of money to spend on a low percentage play.

      The Packetman in reply to counsel. | July 19, 2018 at 3:59 pm

      Which brings up a point … does LI have any claim to having its’ legal expenses reimbursed?

      If a subpeona is withdrawn that casually while causing the subject to incur expenses in its’ defense, surely there’s justification for reimbursement.

      counsel in reply to counsel. | July 19, 2018 at 4:19 pm

      Absent a specific provision in a Statute, New York is generally a pay your own way State when it comes to legal fees.

    Geologist in reply to Liberty Bell. | July 19, 2018 at 4:45 pm

    “August 17. This Order to Show Cause is not a ruling on the merits, but a scheduling order.”

    So there was not to be any “losing venture” as to Aug 17. If it were me, I’d hire local counsel to make a special appearance at the Scheduling Hearing, for a cost of about $150, instead of traveling from Buffalo.

Congratulations to the professor, to Attorney Troy and to others who assisted. Glad to hear of this outcome.

Spanish anagram of Oberlin: “No libre”

Federal subpoena duces tecum , which require a presence to testify upon written interrogatories ,are generally only returnable within 100 miles of the court room.

Subotai Bahadur | July 19, 2018 at 8:31 pm

“May this correspondence confirm that consistent with your conversation with William Doyle, Oberlin College’s Ohio counsel, Oberlin College is withdrawing the subpoena issued to WAJ Media LLC dated June 7, 2018 in the Gibson Brothers, Inc. vs. Oberlin College et al matter (Supreme Court: County of Lorain Case No: 17-CV-193761).”

Oberlin is a Leftist college not known for telling the truth or devotion to the Rule of Law.

Their Lawyers are, well, Lawyers.

Has anyone independently confirmed with the Court that the subpoena has been withdrawn, because taking their word for it does not seem . . . prudent.

LI, you do a real service by covering these campus events. I have kids coming up on college applications, and it’s useful to know some applications they shouldn’t bother sending.

Oberlin’s PR is very nice and attractive, very good in fact, but there’s obviously more to the story.

What is it about the Left and bakeries? Here we have Gibson’s bakery; there was Sweet Cakes by Melissa in Oregon; we just had Masterpiece Cake Shop in Colorado; the 111 Cakery in Indianapolis was forced to close, all the way back to Memories Pizza (not actually a bakery, but still…) It seems that every time we turn around the Left is suing another bake shope

The Lord Jesus Christ said “man does not live by bread alone” and it’s as if the Left is trying to prove it.

    MajorWood in reply to ss396. | July 20, 2018 at 12:18 pm

    Bakeries are the natural enemy of women prone to weight issues, hence the attacks. I know that Gibson’s whole wheat donuts took at least two years off my lifespan. If I open a conservative bakery, it will be called “Seconds on the Lips.” (very small below it) “years on the hips”

Phillygirl1807 | July 20, 2018 at 11:36 am

Great job fighting against colleges like Oberlin that stiffle conservative speech and allow anti-Semitic teachers to continue to spew hate.

Our granddaughter, age 14 and starting high school in the fall, will need to choose a less left wing college if she wants financial help with college tuition from her grandparents. Schools like Oberlin, Middlebury, San Francisco State, and most of the colleges and universities in the California higher education system are off limits as far as I’m concerned. Any school that disallows discourse and supports anti-Israel organizations and professors is off the list.

Phillygirl1807 | July 20, 2018 at 11:36 am

Great job fighting against colleges like Oberlin that stiffle conservative speech and allow anti-Semitic teachers to continue to spew hate.

Our granddaughter, age 14 and starting high school in the fall, will need to choose a less left wing college if she wants financial help with college tuition from her grandparents. Schools like Oberlin, Middlebury, San Francisco State, and most of the colleges and universities in the California higher education system are off limits as far as I’m concerned. Any school that disallows discourse and supports anti-Israel organizations and professors is off the list.

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