Gibson’s Bakery v. Oberlin College Punitive Damages Hearing – Judge Denies Attempt to use College Blast Email Criticizing Jury
“this was a letter sent by the Oberlin general counsel after the verdict. We are talking about the actions of the defendants that demonstrated malice. What we will use is only what was litigated in court.”
[3:20 p.m.] The Court has rejected plaintiffs’ request to use the mass email sent by Oberlin College’s Vice President and General Counsel, Donica Thomas Varner, to the Oberlin community criticizing the jury. The plaintiffs subpoenaed her to testify, and the defense filed a motion to quash the subpoena.
The Judge ruled: “this was a letter sent by the Oberlin general counsel after the verdict. We are talking about the actions of the defendants that demonstrated malice. What we will use is only what was litigated in court.”
You can read more about that email in my post, Oberlin College mass email criticizing Jurors could influence Punitive Damages Hearing in Gibson’s Bakery case.
The arguments over this have delayed proceedings today. There were other defense motions, no witnesses, and the court has adjourned for the day, resuming tomorrow at 10 a.m.
(added) Sometimes it’s better not to get what you want. It’s certainly understandable that the plaintiffs wanted to use the email. But if it created an appealable issue, they might be better off with the jury not seeing it. This judge has been fairly cautious throughout the case, and that ultimately will benefit the winner, in this case the Gibsons, because there is sure to be an appeal.
Last Friday the jury rendered a verdict of $11.2 million against Oberlin College and Dean of Students Meredith Raimondo for compensatory damages. Allyn W. Gibson was awarded $3 million, David Gibson $5.8 million, Gibson Bros. $2,274,500.
The punitive damages hearing is starting at 1:30 p.m. this afternoon. Our reporter, Daniel McGraw, is in the courtroom (as he has been every day of trial) and will have a full report tonight.
Because Ohio law caps punitive damages at twice compensatory damages, the maximum punitive damages are $22.4 million, which would bring the total to $33.6 million.
Based upon the way things appear at the start of the hearing this afternoon, it looks like evidence will be taken this afternoon and some or all of tomorrow morning, and then the jury will then get the punitive damages case. So a verdict looks most likely tomorrow.
We will update this post as we receive additional information.
This is a good time to catch up on our post-Verdict posts, including a baffling blast email from Oberlin College’s General Counsel criticizing the jury:
- VERDICT: Jury awards Gibson’s Bakery $11 million against Oberlin College
- The Internet Reacts to Gibson’s Bakery v. Oberlin College Verdict
- EXCLUSIVE: Oberlin College insurer likely to reject coverage for Gibson Bakery $11 million verdict
- Oberlin College mass email criticizing Jurors could influence Punitive Damages Hearing in Gibson’s Bakery case
- Oberlin College’s identity crisis led to its Gibson’s Bakery train wreck
- What the media is getting wrong about Gibson’s Bakery libel verdict against Oberlin College
- On eve of punitive damages hearing, college plays victim
[The title of this post was changed after publication to reflect the court’s ruling]
[Featured Image: Via YouTube]
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