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Gibson’s Bakery v. Oberlin College – Trial Day 13 — Defense expert declares Gibson family 5-generation bakery history “irrelevant”

Gibson’s Bakery v. Oberlin College – Trial Day 13 — Defense expert declares Gibson family 5-generation bakery history “irrelevant”

Defense case ends with a whimper, not a bang. Closing arguments next Wednesday, then the jury gets to decide.

Today was Day 13 of witness testimony in Gibson Bros. v. Oberlin College. The events giving rise to the lawsuit have been said to represent “the worst of identity politics.”  You can read about some of the background on this case here.

Both sides have rested their cases, and there will be no more witnesses.

This Ohio jury has read and heard a multitude of exchanges between Oberlin College administrators. The jurors heard how Oberlin College’s Dean of Students and a co-defendant in the case, Meredith Raimondo, texted to a colleague, “Fuck him, I’d say unleash the students if I wasn’t convinced this needs to be put behind us” when commenting on how to treat Gibson’s Bakery and others who oppose them.  That was in response to her colleague texting her that “all these idiots complain about the college … Fuck-em, they’ve made their own bed now.”

We could go on and on here with more examples. But given that we could fill up this space with higher education verbal invective like that cited above, we’ll leave that to the jury to decide next week. They will likely be getting the the Gibson Bros v. Oberlin College case to contemplate next Wednesday.

Today was the end of witness testimony for both sides in the Lorain County Common Pleas Court. It was almost like both sides were saying to the judge and the jury that they had nothing left — and that seemed fairly positive for the plaintiffs and not so good for the defense.

The case in a nutshell is this: 1) three African-American students were arrested after shoplifting at the Gibson’s store on Nov. 9, 2016 (they later pleaded guilty); 2) a large number of students thought this was racist and decided to protest outside the store and to brand the store and its owners as racist and worthy of boycott, and 3) the jury is going to decide if Oberlin College helped to libel the business and its owners, interfered with their business, and intentionally inflicted emotional distress.

The jury can decide there is nothing here or lots here. If they find Oberlin College is guilty of the libel, and related claims of interference with business and intentional infliction of emotional distress, the jury will then have to decide the monetary damages. Those could be minimal or get into the eight-figure range. The first witness today was the defense damages expert who has tried to argue there were no damages, or minimal damages at worst.

Defense Expert Sean Saari

We covered Saari’s initial direct examination in yesterday’s post, Defense says Bakery worth only $35k, less than one semester at Oberlin College.

The defense lawyers kept Saari on the stand for almost eight hours between the two days, and it was exhausting for many who think that eight hours of assessments of “the time value of time value and risk” and “the degree of penalty of risk and reliability of return” is about eight hours too many.

When cross-examined by plaintiffs’ attorney, Saari was asked if Gibson’s surviving World War I and II, the 1930s Depression and recent recession, as well as all sorts of other American disruptions over 135 years, Saari responded that, “I think that [their history] is irrelevant. I look at this from a financial standpoint and not an emotional standpoint.”

I’ll try to keep this as simple as possible because I am getting tired head even going into it. The detail was excruciating, the jury even learned the names of a few renters in the past few years who were late on their monthly payments at Gibson owned apartments.

Saari has already been paid $50,000 by Oberlin College for his expert economic testimony, and will like get another $15-20,000 before this is all done. The expert for Gibson’s testified their financial damage from the protest in early November of 2016 was $5.8 million on the conservative side. Could go higher.

Saari said there was no damage from the protests, and that the only value that might be lost by Gibson’s was if they tried to sell their business and couldn’t. That loss would be $35,000, his value of the 135-year-old business.

Under cross-examination, Saari said he had never been to the Gibson’s business or went to the apartment buildings owned by the family. Nor looked at the new parcel of property that the family had hoped to invest in for new rental housing. “I didn’t need to,” he told the jury. “There is a lot more to do than just showing up and seeing the properties.”

When asked under cross if he was essentially saying the business was worthless, Saari answered that he wasn’t saying that. “It has a $35,000 value.”

The focus by the defense was once again lowering the loss value on the properties owned by David Gibson. There had been plans to get one or two buildings done on a vacant lot a mile sor so from campus, but the loss of revenue in the store had forced them to postpone such plans.

But Saari thought that was not a true assessment. “The assumption that these properties would have been built if not for the protest, and would have been fully occupied for 30 years, is not realistic,” he said

By the end of this long testimony that basically came down to speculation ad nauseum, the facts were these. From 2016 until 2018, the store revenues dropped from about $828,000 to $525,000. The revenue from the 18 or so apartment units at two buildings they owned dropped in those years from $175,000 to $128,000. The plaintiffs’ financial expert came up with his $5.8million figure when he extended that damage to 30 years.

Saari said the 30 years was not right. The math of the revenue losses wasn’t right either, he told the jury. And the total loss, if there was one at all, was $35,000.

Gibson attorney Owen Rarric moved the cross-examination along quickly and tried to keep thing simple. Rarric told Saari that family businesses were important, because “they focus on the next generation and not the next quarter.” Saari responded that, “some do, some don’t.” Rarric then said it was very odd for a 135-year old business to go under after being around so long, and Saari responded that Sears and J.C. Penney were around along time and having troubles now.

Rarric then asked, “If your analysis is right, and they have to close up shop and tear down their sign, who do you think will own it next?” Saari said “I have no idea.” He said yesterday that David Gibson, 64, could get a better job if he just sold the store and applied for a job elsewhere.

One thing was certain in Saari’s testimony, though. In the last four hours or so he was one the stand today, the jury had put their pens and notebooks down and some were staring at the ceiling. Judge John R. Miraldi several times called the lawyers to the sidebar to move things along, and the jury laughed when he joked about using his gavel as a sign that the attorney had asked the same question again and again.

Oberlin College President Carmen Twillie Ambar

Today’s last witness was one who had not much to say. Carmen Twillie Ambar is the current president of the school, and formally took the helm of the school in September of 2017. She is known as one with a very well-regarded pedigree, with administrative posts at Princeton and Rutgers universities, and nine years as the president of Cedar Crest College in Allentown, Pennsylvania. A lawyer as well.

But it was only about seven weeks into her new job as president of Oberlin College that Gibson’s filed suit against the school. She then decided, with the advice of the school’s board of trustees, that the school should no longer do food business with Gibson’s.

Her testimony under direct examination was really nothing more than giving her history and how she has lots of different responsibilities, including the business side of the school. “The rationale was that the decision of a vendor to sue you is a decision that alters that relationship,” she told the jury. “We do not do business with a business that is suing the school.”

Cross examination was also very short. Ambar said that the school is very much pro-business in the local area, and said that “Yes, [Gibson’s Bakery & Market] has built something that is good and lasting.”

It was difficult for those of us in the public seating pews – and most likely in the minds of the jury as well – as to why the current school president was in court at all over this matter. She wasn’t at the school when most of this occurred, has inherited a mess she had nothing to do with, and is probably thinking to herself, “how did all this happen?”

But then again, she was only on the stand less than one hour. When Judge John R. Miraldi laughed and stated, “I think you’re probably the shortest witness in a month.” Amber responded, “Maybe we should all stand up and applaud.”

What Comes Next At Trial

With the testimony done, here is the upcoming schedule and the hopeful finality of this case for next week. Judge Miraldi has his criminal court on Mondays, so that day is a off day. The attorneys and the court will meet on Tuesday to hammer out some motions and discussions of the judge’s instructions to the jury. Closing arguments will be held on Wednesday of next week and then it goes to the jury.

A few things to keep in mind, and I will likely be writing about these between now and the closing arguments. The first is that this case of libel and defamation is odd for a number of reasons. Most such cases are public figures suing a media organization, and this is neither. The judge already ruled that plaintiffs were not public figures or even special purpose public figures. Social media and emails always are at play, but this one has a lot. Also, the judge has cited a case in a few of his rulings on evidence admissibility that libel and defamation are not just from the producers of the material that libels another, but from the aiding and abetting from a third party.

In this case, those alleged aiders and abettors would be Oberlin College and Meredith Raimondo. So the jury may be instructed to not just consider the flyer and the senate resolution as damning by themselves, but also how the defendants did to spread them directly and indirectly. Again, not an ordinary civil libel case in that respect.

The second important part of this case is the perceived “bubble” that Oberlin College seems to live in. The plaintiffs’ closing argument may sway into a “they’re not like us” message, which is a political and cultural divide that can have both pluses and minuses for a jury hearing that. It sounds like a good thing to do when putting out anonymous comments or tweets claiming the current higher education community is out of step with the rest of America — but it is a different thing to do in courtroom and to a jury.

Daniel McGraw is a freelance writer and author in Lakewood, Ohio. Follow him on Twitter @danmcgraw1


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Curious, when is an organization such as a school responsible for the actions/words of students? College kids are usually not allowed to mention God at commencement because, so they claim, the student is speaking for the school and is endorsing a religion. So simply saying a few certain words can get the school sued. How are the words and actions of the students not the responsibility of the school?

    dystopia in reply to stl. | June 1, 2019 at 9:21 am

    Oberlin fostered a culture that was toxic to anyone who did not toe the Party Line. Oberlin’s provided the rope for a modern day lynching of a business. You don’t get to walk away from that.

Obviously, since appraisers don’t need to actually physically visit property, the entire job can be offloaded to some call center in Arizona, right?

First- good coverage of this. It’s up there with the Zimmerman coverage, even if this one isn’t as public.

I think the president has point on “we don’t do business with someone who is suing us.” Except that the earlier statement of why would we buy food no one will eat. So they are just spinning and tossing out crap…hopefully the jury will see through that.

The value assessment of the defense… that just doesn’t sound like it’s doing the defense any favors and I think the accountant just told that story to make the school feel good in the moment about their case (emperor has no clothes)- sort of like the divorce attorney who gets a jilted ex wife all jacked up on how much money she’s going to get out of her husband only to find out later he’s going to bill her 90-200% of the final amount she gets in legal fees, but the client sure felt a big power rush of righteous anger in the moment while he was telling that story…not so much when the bill comes due and a pittance of what was promised got collected. Except for Oberlin, the sticker shock ought to come in the other direction.

Terence G. Gain | May 31, 2019 at 10:07 pm

Saari said there was no damage from the protests, and that the only value that might be lost by Gibson’s was if they tried to sell their business and couldn’t. That loss would be $35,000, his value of the 135-year-old business.

When asked under cross if he was essentially saying the business was worthless, Saari answered that he wasn’t saying that. “It has a $35,000 value.”

By the end of this long testimony that basically came down to speculation ad nauseum, the facts were these. From 2016 until 2018, the store revenues dropped from about $828,000 to $525,000. The revenue from the 18 or so apartment units at two buildings they owned dropped in those years from $175,000 to $128,000. The plaintiffs’ financial expert came up with his $5.8million figure when he extended that damage to 30 years.
It is of course ludicrous to claim that a business suffering a loss of revenues of $303,000 in the first two years alone has suffered a total loss of $35,000. Hopefully this dishonesty and arrogance will inflame the jury. I think the 30 year period used by Gibson’s accountant as the period during which damages would be suffered as a result of Oberlin’s despicable defamation is extremely conservative. But then, how do you multiply by infinity.

    guyjones in reply to Terence G. Gain. | June 1, 2019 at 11:17 am

    Yeah, the defense “expert” seems ill-versed in basic notions of business valuation. A business that grosses upwards of $535,000 in annual sale revenue is not worth $35,000. Sure, after taking out employee wages, cost of goods, and other expenses, Gibson’s profit margin is probably pretty low, but, $35,000 is an absurd figure.

Once again, top-notch reporting, DM.

And for an informational as to why I’m not a reporter, my first query to Sean Saari would be, “Respectfully, sir, why do you comb your hair with a live cat?”

Brave Sir Robbin | May 31, 2019 at 10:25 pm

Oberlin spent as much on one consultant as they claim are the maximum potential compensatory damages? Hmmmmm. Then all the attorney’s fees on top of that. The effort they put into this belies the absurdity of Oberlin’s valuation of the business.

Crushing the jury to boredom is not a good tactic. Nor is being overly technical and coldly analytical. But at least the Oberlin attorneys and consultants are making out well.

counsel4pay | May 31, 2019 at 10:28 pm

How…perfect. A $50,000++ expert who never even visits the business/property! Somehow, it just seems…so right, so fitting, for Oberlin. Start with the conclusion and mold your facts to fit!

The lawyers will have their say–I pray they be brief. This jury is well prepared to render judgment.

Beware the trap of the convoluted special verdict with numerous questions as to every element of every theory. When the verdict goes on for pages and pages of questions, a plaintiff is in peril.

Neither my prayers nor good wishes shall cease on behalf of this hard working family and their gracious support staff. I believe in Gibson’s case. I like this judge. I trust this jury. I am content.

    alaskabob in reply to counsel4pay. | May 31, 2019 at 11:03 pm

    Saari … is this (gasp) a homophone for “sorry”? Even if not, has this guy ever been in business or just a theory guy? Run this back several decades and a “family run business” was the bedrock of every community and in many, still is. “Sweat equity” made businesses… not Theory 101. At least the college is uniform in its disdain for small businesses as represented by its counsel and witnesses.

    Ulysses in reply to counsel4pay. | June 1, 2019 at 10:41 am

    Counsel4pay what would you say to the jury about Saari’s low ball figure? Ideologues aside, most people have at least rudimentary BS detectors. This one gets flagged by everyone who has a modicum of objectivity.

    So what can you say to the jury that would help in an award?

      counsel4pay in reply to Ulysses. | June 1, 2019 at 9:05 pm

      Ohio trial procedures are different than those I know from California. Only 8 jurors not 12 (and only 6 of 8 need agree); different laws; different jury instructions. BUT, the “tactics” to dealing with “experts” COULD BE comparable:

      * I believe that closing arguments precede jury instructions in both states. See, “Ohio 2315.01 Trial – procedure”.
      * However, in both states, the attorneys and judge decide upon Jury Instructions BEFORE “closing arguments”.
      * Thus, attorneys know before they submit “arguments to jury” what the law will be–kind of important.
      * This provides a special opportunity to Plaintiffs counsel to BE THE ONE TO FIRST GIVE GUIDANCE TO THE JURY:
      1. PLAINTIFF’S ATTORNEY THEN READS, verbatim, the instruction on expert witnesses and expert testimony. I think it goes like this [long quote]:

      “4.08 Opinion Evidence (Expert Witnesses)

      The rules of evidence ordinarily do not permit witnesses to state their own opinions about important questions in a trial, but there are exceptions to these rules. In this case, you heard testimony from (state the name of the person(s) who offered an opinion). Because of (his)(her)(their) knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education in the field of (state the witness(es)’s field), (Mr.)(Ms.)(Dr.) (name) (was)(were) permitted to offer a(n) opinion(s) in that field and the reasons for (that)(those) opinion(s). The opinion(s) (this)(these) witness(es) state(s) should receive whatever weight you think appropriate, given all the other evidence in the case. In weighing this opinion testimony you may consider the witness’ qualifications,
      the reasons for the witness’ opinions, and the reliability of the information supporting the witness’ opinions, as well as the other factors discussed in these instructions for weighing the testimony of witnesses. You may disregard the opinion(s) entirely if you decide that (Mr.)(Ms.)(Dr.) (name)’s opinion(s) (is)(are) not based on sufficient knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education. You may also disregard the opinion(s) if you conclude
      that the reasons given in support of the opinion(s) are not sound, or if you conclude that the opinion(s) (is)(are) not supported by the facts shown by the evidence, or if you think that the opinion(s) (is)(are) outweighed by other evidence.

      [EXTENSIVE “COMMENTS” OMITTED. They’re critical for ATTORNEYS, but the jury will not hear them. ]

      Plaintiff can SEIZE THE INITIATIVE HERE–IT’S “A BIG DEAL”: If Plaintiffs’ counsel tells jury that “Judge ___ will soon give you this instruction and you should listen for it”, and IF THAT THEN HAPPENS, THE JURY ASSOCIATES PLAINTIFF’S COUNSEL WITH HAVING THEIR BEST INTERESTS AT HEART AND “ONLY WANTING A FAIR AND PROPER VERDICT”. [“He told us what the Judge would instruct us to do, and that’s exactly what happened–he’s an honorable attorney.”

      2. THEN, Plaintiff can say: “YOU, THE MEMBERS OF THE JURY, must decide which of two VERY DIFFERENT opinions about the value of Gibson’s is most accurate–or if neither one is. Let’s compare and contrast Mr. Saari’s opinion from last Friday [5/31] to the earlier opinion of Mr. ____.

      3. If it were me, I’D MAKE ONE OR MORE VERY LARGE MOUNTED BOARDS one for each “expert” opinion, AND COMPARED THE BASES FOR THE TWO DIFFERENT OPINIONS with regard to winning points or features of “my guy” versus “their guy.” [For example: As you deliberate, you may come to agree that Mr. Saari’s views were less relevant or worthwhile than Mr. ____’s views; e.g. Mr. Saari did not ever visit the Bakery! Does that seem right, or was it the tactic of a “bought and paid for witness” who got more than $50,000 for his “phone in opinion”? [USE EVERY IMPORTANT FACT AND INFERENCE IN YOUR FAVOR, but do so in a CALM, DIGNIFIED, AND SINCERE MANNER.
      4. I would also (if allowed by local practice) tell the jury: “If you ask the Court’s permission, you can have the jury instructions printed out and provided to you for your deliberations.”

      You can not only present BIG BOARDS for key jury instructions, but also FOR THE FORM OF JURY VERDICT. We would have “check marks” of what we asked each Jury to find and mark for all elements of a case. If we saw jurors writing down what we asked them to “find as ultimate opinion about” we knew they wanted to give us the win. Juries (usually) REALLY, TRULY, want to follow the law. But it’s complex, and has lots of “jargon” and “special procedures”, SO WE, AS PLAINTIFFS’ COUNSEL, WOULD BE THEIR “GUIDES” AND GIVE THEM STRUCTURE, LOGIC, AND FAIRNESS TO REACH A VERDICT FOR OUR CLIENTS.

I know it sounds flip, but it really isn’t. A fair settlement should be set at the value of Oberlin’s endowment.

I’m only marginally kidding.

    OldNuc in reply to rdm. | May 31, 2019 at 10:37 pm

    I would add 10% to the total endowment value so it really hurt.

    ScottTheEngineer in reply to rdm. | June 1, 2019 at 8:18 am

    I’d subtract $35K from that value. After all, It’s important to be fair.

    artichoke in reply to rdm. | June 1, 2019 at 9:59 pm

    Gibson’s doesn’t deserve that much, although they deserve a whole lot.

    But society deserves to have a reset at Oberlin. It’s a fine place to have a college campus, the town is used to having a campus there, and all that. But the current assholes running the place have to be cleansed out, and that probably involves the termination of tenure contracts. Hence a reorganization at least is needed, so going for the endowment is a social good.

Brave Sir Robbin | May 31, 2019 at 10:57 pm

I do not see how Oberlin let this go to trial. They had absolutely nothing to gain. At best, they have substantial legal and other fees, probably at least $400k. Then they have liability, if they lose, of potentially more than $1 million to be sure. In such cases they should seek settlement and (1) try to see if a non-monetary remedy exists, such as an statement of support, (2) if that fails, then offer (1) and 5% of the potential legal fees and liability, and, if that fails, drop (1) and increase the bid in negotiation up to the potential liability x your probability of loss. Then seal the settlement and the students do not get angry and Oberlin keeps its SJW creds. I cannot be sure if the Gibson’s were being unreasonable and would not settle, but that does not seem to be the case. But it seems the school wanted to avoid a public display of support for Gibson’s either for ideological reasons, or because of fear of the students, or to maintain its SWJ brand.

    MajorWood in reply to Brave Sir Robbin. | May 31, 2019 at 11:53 pm

    They filed 1 year to the day of the shoplifting incident. I think there is a statement in that somewhere, like, give them a year to apologize.

    guyjones in reply to Brave Sir Robbin. | June 1, 2019 at 11:14 am

    I agree that rational minds would have settled the matter. But, Oberlin’s posture reflects the total arrogance of its administrators, and, the self-congratulatory smugness and sanctimony that accompanies SJW/Leftist groupthink.

    Bottom line, the administrators could not admit or concede that they indefensibly fanned the flames of false accusations and misplaced vitriol, against an innocent and wrongly-accused business that was simply protecting its property interests and its livelihood against three student shoplifters.

      LeftWingLock in reply to guyjones. | June 1, 2019 at 7:57 pm

      Guy and several others — Respectfully, I think you are forgetting one thing when you talk about the arrogance of the administration. Think about what would have happened if Oberlin would have apologized or settled. The students would have turned on the administration like (insert violent analogy). Campus protests, buildings occupied, professors upset, etc. And administrators would likely have lost their jobs. Given a choice between administration jobs being lost or spending a few million (of someone else’s money), the choice was really easy.

        artichoke in reply to LeftWingLock. | June 1, 2019 at 10:02 pm

        Really, they admitted a mob that would have done THAT for respecting a business’ right not to be stolen from?

        Then Admissions should have been replaced.

    MajorWood in reply to Brave Sir Robbin. | June 1, 2019 at 11:52 am

    The big question is clearly why Oberlin let this get so far out of hand. The quick answer is arrogance. They are clearly better than the locals, case closed. But, something else occurred to me, and I don’t know how this could play into testimony in a trial. When did Oberlin seek counsel in this matter? If Oberlin truly believed that they did nothing wrong, then they would not have needed to hire the outside counsel until the suit was filed in November 2017. But part of me wonders whether they brought in outside legal help much earlier, and whether the advice at that time was that Oberlin had nothing to worry about. Somehow Oberlin must have gotten this narrative stuck in their collective mind, and nothing since has been able to dislodge it. Is this a question that can be asked during the trial, because to me it establishes a time frame for what the college might be thinking, and when?

    The time to settle would have been about 15 seconds after the change in venue was rejected. Oberlin was hoping to get an urban perspective, one, where say, the jurors might be inclined to view Gibsons just like those evil Korean store owners who rape and pillage the neighborhood (at least that is how they were viewed locally in Balmer). That would have been their shot in the dark Hail Mary chance of coming out ahead here.

    When do we start the pool to establish the continued employment of those who testified in the trial. My guess is that Raimondo and Jones will be instructed to submit letters of resignation within an hour of the verdict.

    I also wonder about the new President. Sure, she inherited this mess, but was she was also in a position to bring it to a close at any time? Or was it something too out of control by that point? So just who is calling the shots on how to proceed? Is it the board? My guess is that they are going to dump the blame on Raimondo and Krislov (and of course, Trump), even though those two may have only had limited powers to stop things once the ball really got rolling. I found this document interesting, especially if we look at it with the possibility of a significant settlement cost. How would 5, 10, 15 million play into this?

      artichoke in reply to MajorWood. | June 1, 2019 at 10:23 pm

      Yes the document is quite interesting. Despite the somber tone, it’s actually a white-wash of the real situation. They admit their cash flow is negative, without a clear plan on how to turn that around, and that’s been under very nice conditions. They’re facing a set of challenges that many other liberal arts colleges face — maybe all of them, but they keep it quiet as much as possible.

      State universities are competing with honors programs that are cheaper to attend, unless the private college gives a lot of financial aid. Without the financial aid, kids other than rich dumb ones won’t come. Poorer ones can’t afford it, and brighter ones will go to higher ranked places.

      This case will kick Oberlin’s ranking down some more and cost it some of its endowment. Can they straighten up and get rid of the leftism? If they did a crazy thing like that and attracted some Trump supporters, they might survive. But I think they’d rather die than do that, and so they might decline quickly.

        artichoke in reply to artichoke. | June 1, 2019 at 10:36 pm

        Oh yeah, and admissions will be harder next year. I think they dragged this out to get past May 1, the date when admitted students decide where to attend college next year. So they’ve got one more class not much worse than the one before it.

        That could change next year. This looks very bad and even if the case doesn’t go viral nationally, it will appear on the “Oberlin College” threads of discussion boards where students discuss their college choices and hopes.

Brave Sir Robbin | May 31, 2019 at 11:04 pm

Bottom line, it looks like Gibson’s just wanted a statement of support from the school stating they were not racists, but for whatever reason, the school would rather pay out a rather large sum of money than comply with that demand. Once a judge makes a determination that the issue is going to trial, you should make all means to settle. The system is actually set up to try and force people to settle.

    Erik the Red in reply to Brave Sir Robbin. | June 1, 2019 at 6:42 am

    David Gibson testified to this precisely earlier in the trial ; he met with College admins and made this request.

      Tom Servo in reply to Erik the Red. | June 1, 2019 at 7:41 am

      “but for whatever reason, the school would rather pay out a rather large sum of money than comply with that demand.”

      The “reason” is now obvious; Oberlin still thinks it was completely in the right, and they don’t think anyone can do anything to them, not even a court. It’s a level of arrogance that you rarely see on display in public, and to do it in front of a jury?

      We’ve now seen Oberlin’s entire defense – I admit that I had not expected it to be convincing, but even I am shocked that they decided that their entire legal approach would be “Eh, Your business is worthless so Who Cares.” That, in the end, is really the only “defense” they presented.

      Good catch on seeing the Jury put away their notepads. Probably means that most of them have already made up their minds.

One question I ask myself when looking at the cost of the defense, is whether their insurance policy is covering this?

Can you find out what their coverage and limits might be?

I am of course hoping they get punched hard with punitive, but I have to guess the defense costs are approaching a million if this single clown accountant was paid 50k for an afternoon’s worth of work.

    Tom Servo in reply to Andy. | June 1, 2019 at 7:52 am

    Insurance – I would expect an organization like Oberlin to have a large liability policy to cover accidents and the like, but I think it would be very rare, if not unheard of, for any school to be covered for any intentional wrongful acts they may commit. (ie, the essence of any Tort case) Of course I have no personal knowledge of what coverage they may or may not have, but they would never have insured themselves against something that they absolutely “Knew” was “Impossible” – the possibility that they might actually do something wicked.

      Ulysses in reply to Tom Servo. | June 1, 2019 at 9:48 am

      An Insurance Company would have cut its losses and reached a settlement. Insurance Companies are not out to prove a point. They are business people not leftist ideologues.

        Andy in reply to Ulysses. | June 2, 2019 at 12:47 am

        Good point, which points to the type of coverage (if it is being covered). Things like E&O coverage or Drs Malpractice, require the covered to consent to settle.

        If the insurance company is paying for the defense costs, the accounting and other shenanigans are very bizarre. I’m not familiar with the legal defense in the consent to settle aspect- but I’m dubious that the insurers legal team would be doing this, they’d be trying damn hard to settle out of court.

        Now if the insurance company said – we ain’t covering because this was an intentional act, then the college is on their own. These questions I think are key because this defense is a big legal bill out of an operating budget which will be uglier if they lose…deep pockets or not.

        Not to mention this will seriously hurt them also in donor funds which will be much costlier than the ultimate payout. VERY dumb of them to let this go to court in that context.

    MajorWood in reply to Andy. | June 1, 2019 at 1:00 pm

    I now realize that my mistake was going to Oberlin and not Clown Accountant School. Of course, how many clients are there who would pay $50K for his services?

That’s a nice art collection that you have there, Oberlin. Be a shame if you had to auction it off to pay a court judgement.

Erik the Red | June 1, 2019 at 6:33 am

OC: “This is a racist establishment with a LONG ACCOUNT of racial profiling and discrimination”
OC: “GIbson’s has a HISTORY of racial profiling and discriminatory treatment of students and residents alike”
Saari: “I think that [their history] is irrelevant.”

Saari responded that Sears and J.C. Penney were around along time and having troubles now.

…was that because they were called racist??

Saari: “I think that [their history] is irrelevant.”

It’s this practice of context-dropping that facilitates Progressives eating the cake and having it too.

pablo panadero | June 1, 2019 at 6:47 am

In the mind of Raimondo, she felt she controlled the students, as mentioned in the “unleash the students” comment. She was and is power hungry and vindictive. The student senate may be elected by the students, but the are paid by the college with scholarship aid. So the most damning evidence shows that school officials had every power to limit or curtail damage to Gibson’s on an obviously false charge, but gleefully chose not to.

Regardless of the verdict I would never hire an Oberlin grad. Not even to mow my yard.

Richard Aubrey | June 1, 2019 at 7:44 am

Said it before: These fools thought they were so powerful there’d be no discovery. Or that there would be discovery and it wouldn’t make them look bad.
Or that, how they looked would be “good” to the Right Sort of People.
So they refused to settle and now they are shown to be what they are, and they’ll lose money, too.

    Tom Servo in reply to Richard Aubrey. | June 1, 2019 at 7:57 am

    As I wrote elsewhere, we’ve now seen their entire defense, and it can be summarized as “Eh, Your business is worthless so Who Cares.” Astounding, that’s all they thought they needed.

The business was obviously worth more to the Gibson family than what it could fetch on the market. The Gibsons have been stripped of a way of life that was tied to their business and their reputations in the community. I hope they are generously compensated by the jury.

    Erik the Red in reply to cwillia1. | June 1, 2019 at 7:56 am

    Funny, isn’t it, that OC, ideologically opposed to market capitalism, suddenly invokes market capitalism to marginalize the value of a business?

Erik the Red | June 1, 2019 at 11:15 am

“…Ambar testified that the college has had discussions that its footprint is too large, and it may need to consolidate.”

–> [ IIRC, it recently tore down some college-owned houses, as well as closed a dining hall/dorm]

“…During testimony this week, attorneys for Gibson’s Bakery have brought up the fact that the college owns the majority of the property surrounding Tappan Square, which also is owned by the Oberlin College. The attorneys pointed out that the college took over ownership of the Apollo Theater, which had been a family-owned business for about 85 years prior.

Attorneys for Gibson’s Bakery said they believed that if Gibson’s Bakery were to close, the college would purchase it.

Ambar said that isn’t the case, and she also stated that the college purchased the Apollo Theater, which was a business that was losing money, to keep it open. She stated that having a theater in downtown Oberlin is good for the college and the community as a whole. She also said the college loses about $500,000 a year running the Apollo.”

I can see why (but not accept) OC refused to settle with Gibson’s. If what Ambar says is true, OC is losing money on at least one College venture in town. The College owns a corner property that houses Conservatory offices and the official Bookstore. in addition to purchasing, renovating and running the local Apollo Theater, OC has rebuilt its athletic complex and field, put up new dorms, put up a new Conservatory building and rebuilt the Oberlin Hotel. The College may even have cooperated with the LEED-certified “green” condos in the E. College Street Project. So Ambar’s testimony is basically “OC is actually a good community partner, but this partnership has overextended us financially”. She’s attempting to marginalize damages against OC.

    alaskabob in reply to Erik the Red. | June 1, 2019 at 12:23 pm

    So OC was rebuilding the town in their own image. They were providing services no longer viable or of poor investment potential. At least they were making those decision with their own money, but as with progressive government, they then choose to direct the affairs of others to confirm with their ideology. Their social investment demanded both respect and adherance. “We do so much good, we should be allowed to do as much harm as needed.”

      Erik the Red in reply to alaskabob. | June 2, 2019 at 7:02 am

      “So OC was rebuilding the town in their own image”

      In a way, yes. The town and College (first the settlement, then the “Institute”) were inspired by the work of Swiss/French theologian Jean-Frederic Oberlin, who could be characterized as a Christian Socialist. I think the aim was a religious Utopia; students who learned and labored in/at Oberlin were then to spread their gospel(!) in the wider world. That [moral] mission has been secularized (since the 60’s) to be sure, but is as strong today as it was then. Capitalism breeds inequality & greed, according to christian socialists, and is viewed as the main moral failing of the United States, a view that is still ingrained in the Oberlin experience today.

        alaskabob in reply to Erik the Red. | June 2, 2019 at 7:24 pm

        Inequality and greed are rampant in communist countries. It just manifests differently. It is human nature which transcends ideology. Oberlin has shown it practices the same faults they accuse others of. OC is sustained by capitalism’s infusion of money from donors. There is a point where they haven’t earned what they got.

    rochf in reply to Erik the Red. | June 1, 2019 at 2:33 pm

    So is Oberlin running only social justice movies at The Apollo, or are they running movies that people actually want to see? That might explain why they’re running i at a loss.

    PostLiberal in reply to Erik the Red. | June 1, 2019 at 11:46 pm

    She stated that having a theater in downtown Oberlin is good for the college and the community as a whole. She also said the college loses about $500,000 a year running the Apollo.”

    Not a wise decision, financially. If the college wanted to have movies, it could simply show them at some college classroom or auditorium at a much lower cost.

      Erik the Red in reply to PostLiberal. | June 2, 2019 at 7:13 am

      As I mentioned before, the College’s roots are not about “profit” as much as its about “service”.

It is a shame that Downfall parodies are on the wane. My personal choice for a subtitle would be “everyone who thinks Gibsons is right leave the room.” I simply have to believe that more people than just Copeland and Piron believed that the college was wrong here, but chose to remain silent lest the SJW mob be unleashed upon them. Perhaps they will be emboldened to come out of the woodwork in the aftermath? But then again, this is Oberlin, and perhaps bunkering down will be even more advised down the road.

    alaskabob in reply to MajorWood. | June 1, 2019 at 2:59 pm

    In western movies… the question would be between “High Noon” and “Open Range”. Go it alone or start alone and galvanize the town… but that requires a vulnerable opponent and OC could begin to “sell protection”… “nice store you have there…be a shame if you were labeled as racist and have demonstrators outside”.

    This is more than about Gibsons… this is about SJW control of a community… this is a proving ground of sorts for Progressive control.

In Ohio can people interview jurors after the fact? I’d love to know what the jurors thought about the various witnesses and Oberlin’s defense that Gibsons was essentially worthless –I guess that means that Oberlin was actually helping them out by killing it off quickly rather than let it die a slow, painful death

    counsel4pay in reply to rochf. | June 2, 2019 at 2:07 am

    Rochf asks about post-trial juror interviews.

    A few considerations:

    1. Jurors may talk to anyone AFTER “discharge”, but are also told “You don’t have to say Jack!”
    2. In “higher profile cases” judges will let jurors out “a back door” and provide a Bailiff escort for them to get away from attorneys, reporters, SJW students….
    3. Some jurors do promptly leave the area “until the dust clears”.
    4. IF THEY DO TALK TO ATTORNEYS, they will be “interrogated to see if a grounds for appeal might be raised of juror misconduct.”
    5. Special rules, very limited in scope, apply to using “juror affidavits” to “IMPEACH THE VERDICT”. Few valid grounds for “impeachment” exist. IF VERDICT UNANIMOUS, it is IMPRUDENT in the extreme for any juror to talk about what happened.

    [Important rule: “Aliunde Rule Law and Legal Definition Aliunde rule is a principle of evidence law which says that the verdict of a jury may not be impeached by the evidence of a member of the jury unless foundation for the introduction of such evidence is first laid by competent evidence alunde, i. e., by evidence from some other source”. MORE than mere juror testimony needed. Few Ohio CIVIL cases on this issue.]

    6. Given the “milieu” of OC community, pro-plaintiff jurors can expect to be HARASSED, ATTACKED, REVILED, and more.
    7. Sometimes, jurors “love the limelight/temporary fame” in the post-trial period; some attempt to make $ giving interviews; sometimes they want to write a book about it all.
    9. The vast might of the Slimy Media will be marshaled against ANYONE who supports Gibsons.
    10. If [WHEN] there is a verdict in favor of the Plaintiffs, they should determine if they could/should just sell out and find a more supportive community. CAN WE BE BRUTALLY HONEST HERE? WHATEVER HAPPENS, THE SHOP IS GOING TO FALL AND FAIL. So before FIREBOMBS, “shots in the night”, and similar travesties of our broken Republic result in beatings and deaths of the bakery/family/staff, they need to have a “long term escape plan”. That’s why I pray for a SUBSTANTIAL VERDICT–enough to let them flee a hostile enemy town. ALL THE SACRIFICE, SERVICE, GOOD ILL, AND HONORABLE OPERATION OF THE BAKERY HAS BEEN REVILED, TRASHED, REPUDIATED BY OC, ITS FACULTY, STAFF, AND STUDENTS.

      Your number 10 is why I get less upset than I might over businesses caving in to Leftist demands. Every business has to take into account that mob action is SOP for the Left, and has been for decades. Examples abound; one that’s particularly relevant concerns how Barack Obama convinced Chicago banks to lend to minority deadbeats even before the CRA: we can fill up your branches with “outraged protesters” who will harass, intimidate, and assault your customers and staff; our activities will be ignored by Demoocrat controlled law enforcement; and none of us have enough money to be worth suing even if we can’t take refuge behind the 1st Amendment.

      Until conservatives develop and demonstrate a credible deterrent, this will continue.

I think the attitude of Oberlin and its counsel may very well destroy their case. In addition to the evidence. They are expressing the same dismissive contempt as led to the case in the first place. I hope for millions of dollars in damages, as well as multi million dollars in punitive damages.

Love how it was said that Gibson could sell the bakery and find a better paying job. Really?? Why should he.F* em. Isn’t that what she said?

Anyone else think that Mr Saari might be in for a lesson about a loss of reputation here, and what it might be like to go looking for a job?

The Packetman | June 1, 2019 at 6:00 pm

Did a quick internet search of Sean Saari. Now I’m no expert, but it appears that Skoda Minotti is prepared to provide you a business valuation whether you need a high value of your business (like in an acquisition) or a low value of your business (like in a divorce).

Depending on what you need, of course.

    Brave Sir Robbin in reply to The Packetman. | June 1, 2019 at 8:31 pm

    Congress needed to make a budget, but could not figure out what 1 + 1 equaled, so the chairman created a committee to study the issues. After six months they report that though they could not figure it out, they identified people who worked with numbers everyday who might be able to tell them. These people were mathematicians, economists, and accountants. So congress called witnesses and held a hearing to determine from these experts what 1 + 1 equaled they might create budget.

    The first witness called was the mathematician. The chairman asked, “Dr. Mathematician, what does 1 + 1 equal?”

    The mathematician, looking somewhat puzzled answered, “Mr. Chairman, 1 + 1 equals 2.” The Chairman responded, “each and every time?” to which the mathematician said, “Yes, Mr. Chairman… each and every time.”

    The second witness, the economist was called and sworn in, and the Chairman asked, “Dr. Economist, what does 1 + 1 equal?” to which the economist answered, “Well, Mr. Chairman, it depends.” To which the Chairman asked, “It depends on what, exactly?” The economist said, well, it depends on seasonality, various equilibrium factors, dynamic demand flux, and exchange rate arbitrage obligations, all other things being equal.”

    The Chairman thanked the economist for his testimony and swore in the next witness, the accountant, and asked, “Mr. Accountant, what does 1 + 1 equal?” The accountant furtively looked over each shoulder and then answered, “Mr. Chairman, what do you want it to equal?”

      That’s ridiculous. Every computer programmer, or at least every programmer who’s ever worked down at the bits and bytes level of the machine, knows that 1+1 =10 (in binary, of course).

So the College says
– the damages are $35,000
– plays their economist about $70,000 or twice that
– eight semesters tuition is 8 x $50,000 = $400,000 or more than ten times that
– three students shoplifted and caused the issue $1,200,000

Then consider that the college spent about $400,000 to defend themselves
– the college thinks that was better than settling
– this is a one-time cost

Of course I like to think of justice
– as putting the shoe on the other foot
– they tried to put them out of business
– what would that be for Oberlin
– endowment is about $900,000,000

Put those numbers in front of the jury
– prime their thoughts
– before punitive damages

    counsel4pay in reply to Dr P. | June 2, 2019 at 12:33 pm

    Dear Dr.P:

    While I applaud and share your fervent desire to see Gibson’s be awarded monies sufficient to compensate them for their losses, the facts you want to use to get such an award ARE NOT ALLOWED UNDER THE JURY INSTRUCTIONS that will be given. This invites JNOV, NEW TRIAL, REMITTITUR, APPEAL, ETC. [Gibson’s probably cannot endure another trial physically and emotionally. Do it once. Do it right.]

    Plaintiffs’ counsel can ESTABLISH THEMSELVES AS HONORABLE, EXPERIENCED, AND PROPER G-U-I-D-E-S by “weaving” the facts admitted on damages into the law of the jury instructions. The judge will caution the jurors about myriad IMPROPER considerations. The JURY WANTS TO DO THE RIGHT THING.

    So the closing attorney marshals all the different PROPER considerations for EACH aspect of an award (economic, emotional, pain & suffering, punitive damages) and JUSTIFIES a suitable award using PROPERLY ADMITTED TESTIMONY & DOCUMENTS in light of the EXACT WORDING OF JURY INSTRUCTIONS.

    Plaintiff’s closing can SET THE STAGE, TAKE THE GROUND, SEIZE THE INITIATIVE. When the Defense attempts to rebut, Plaintiffs RETURNS TO TRUE, MOST REASONABLE FACTS, REQUOTES LAW, and humble asks the jury for a verdict so that justice is done.

      But if the jury is sufficiently outraged by the defense’s lowball estimate of Gibson’s value, what’s to prevent them from simply adopting the attitude, “We’re not financial experts, so we’ve got to depend on the testimony of the experts. And the defense’s expert’s testimony didn’t sound at all credible, while the plaintiff’s expert’s testimony did. So, we’re going with the plaintiff’s expert’s number.” Are you saying that the jury instructions could contain instructions that the jury must disregard both “experts”?

I can imagine sitting there thinking my HOUSE is worth 5x more than this business?!?!?