Image 01 Image 03

Gibson’s Bakery v. Oberlin College Punitive Damages Hearing – Judge Denies Attempt to use College Blast Email Criticizing Jury

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.

Earlier Coverage

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:

[The title of this post was changed after publication to reflect the court’s ruling]

[Featured Image: Via YouTube]


NOTE: Our trial coverage is a project of the Legal Insurrection Foundation. Your support helps make this type of coverage possible.

Donate Now!


Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.


Oberlin should simply state that they refuse to be judged by Deplorables.

LeftWingLock | June 11, 2019 at 1:39 pm

C’mon. Saying that the jury was a bunch of ignoramuses whose mothers wore army boots is hardly “criticizing” the jury.

counsel4pay | June 11, 2019 at 1:45 pm

In a rather modest courtroom in a courtroom of a state whose motto is “With God all things are possible”, an honest judge and a deeply committed jury seek tO know and fulfill God’s will–TO DO JUSTICE.

We pray for them.
We pray for the Gibsons.

We have watched, often in disbelief, and sometimes in abject astonishment, as Defendants have lied, defamed, and injured an honorable business and an honorable family. The lies, injuries, and defamations CONTINUE TO THIS VERY HOUR.

Pray God, judge of all, that this jury continue to fulfill its charge as it has heretofore done, with obedience to law and AWARD PLAINTIFFS THE MAXIMUM AMOUNT ALLOWED BY LAW.

    Silvertree in reply to counsel4pay. | June 11, 2019 at 2:31 pm

    As a former Oberlin student, I remember Mr. Allyn W. Gibson back when he was “young”…. he must have been around 60 years old then. He seemed so old and wise at the time, like a kindly grandfather, with a wonderfully sweet quirky smile, always ready to chat and always ready to lift your spirits. I loved and craved a certain vegetarian sandwich there that came in a pita, and they had round white rolls I loved too. I liked it that they used pure ingredients, and it was fun to choose a little sweet thing now and then from the many beautiful offerings in the case, just for a treat. Gibson’s was wonderful because it was so close by and you could get simple groceries. Once when I was very very ill I dragged myself there to buy a bottle of pure juice and it was just such a blessing. In fact it seemed to me like a kind of blessed borderland between campus and the real world out there, and Mr. Gibson was a smiling grandfatherly presence guarding that border, for a gentle transition. That this lovely lovely man should be treated in this way is unfathomable to me. Yes, let us pray.

      alaskabob in reply to Silvertree. | June 11, 2019 at 4:02 pm

      You have true empathy. That is both absent and abolished under the present administration of OC and replace with selective malice. Everything now is distilled into friend or foe.

    Silvertree in reply to counsel4pay. | June 11, 2019 at 3:10 pm

    If you watch the police body-cam footage on youtube, you can see how Mr. David Gibson is standing there almost pleading among the wine bottles and everything all strewn about, asking the policeman to please take fingerprints from the bottles. Already he has heard the students’ spin on events, and stands there helplessly, saying, “They’re going to trash us.” It is a heartbreaking scene. He has just watched his son being beaten by multiple assailants, including, he says, a young man who kicked his son again and again but who got away (this person, also African-American, has apparently never been named). Then you see his father, the ancient Mr. Allyn W. Gibson, come in carefully, moving slowly with his walker, not knowing yet what has all occurred, with his sweet polite smile for the officer and wondering. As the officer leaves you see the elderly man making his way slowly down the aisle of the trashed store that has been his life’s cherished work. Absolutely heartbreaking.

      SNAB in reply to Silvertree. | June 11, 2019 at 5:02 pm

      I stopped at Gibsons last November on a road trip. I graduated in 1982 and also remember the senior Mr. Gibson as the nicest, most fatherly man. So last November,my husband and I, both of us OC graduates, stopped to show our respect for and support of the bakery. And our Mr. Gibson, Allyn W. Gibson, was there and I had the privilege of giving him a warm embrace and telling him that I was ashamed of the college. I have been wishing for the college to go out of business after this flagrant malevolence. We also bought the greatest apple fritter.

For Whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee

John Donne

Perhaps the plaintiffs need to call Oberlin’s general counsel as a witness and ask her explain what evidence she based her astonishing email on–what evidence did they have that Dean Raimondo was trying to quell the distrubance? If they had any, wouldn’t they have introduced that at trial? I didn’t see evidence of that–all I saw was a witness quibbling over the definition of support.

    Tom Servo in reply to rochf. | June 11, 2019 at 2:34 pm

    Well the evidence is obvious – Dean Raimondo Sez So, and if you say different you be’s RAYCISS!!!

    Gremlin1974 in reply to rochf. | June 11, 2019 at 3:32 pm

    Sounds like they tried and the judge said no.

    artichoke in reply to rochf. | June 11, 2019 at 3:46 pm

    I’d guess that would be out of bounds because she hasn’t been shown to have knowledge about the facts that the judge has ruled relevant to the case.

    Nice thought though.

      MajorWood in reply to artichoke. | June 11, 2019 at 8:02 pm

      Wait. Doesn’t she have a bunch of clear evidence though? In my perfect world, have the plaintiffs try to get her as a witness and the letter submittable as evidence, and then use neither at this point. Get the punitive damages with what you have, and I believe they have enough, and then keep these little pieces of low hanging fruit dangling in the breeze if needed for later.

Don’t worry folks, this trial may be winding down but get ready for Oberlin in the Courtroom Season Two: Meredith vs the White Male Rapists

Your favorite dean Meredith Raimondo returns as Title IX coordinator, this time trying desperately to protect the innocent women of Oberlin from the evil oppression of the drunk college male patriarchy. Because all men are guilty until proven innocent. And even then, most are still guilty.

I say bring back the same jury and let them go another round

      slither in reply to swtx. | June 11, 2019 at 3:36 pm

      I suspect that one of the reasons that Oberlin has been so sure-of-itself during the whole Gibson case is the fact that they got away with their Title IX procedures judging every male as guilty.

      artichoke in reply to swtx. | June 11, 2019 at 3:44 pm

      That’s awful. This nonsense is so common I don’t remember the case, but I vaguely remember the thread so I must have seen it.

      Men should go to all-male colleges. Oh wait, they got rid of those. Now it’s all coed, except there’s also all-female.

      rochf in reply to swtx. | June 11, 2019 at 4:53 pm

      Why is Raimondo still employed at Oberlin, or anywhere, for that matter?

        Tom Servo in reply to rochf. | June 11, 2019 at 6:03 pm

        Because her bosses think exactly like she does, and she is doing everything exactly the way they want it done.

        Ideological Purity is more important than Success.

          MajorWood in reply to Tom Servo. | June 11, 2019 at 8:07 pm

          And this is also where “time wounds all heels” will come into play. If nothing happens to the Oberlin administration over this, they will do it again. And each time it will get worse. Show me someone whose lawyer got them off a DUI charge and I’ll show you someone who is likely to do much worse down the road. I wonder how many times Joe got Teddy off the hook before he tried to cross that bridge.

        artichoke in reply to rochf. | June 11, 2019 at 6:37 pm

        Why not? They won’t show weakness by firing her. That would be giving in.

        I wouldn’t be surprised if Oberlin doubles down somehow. They may think they have no choice and have only the far-left constituency to count on now.

          puhiawa in reply to artichoke. | June 12, 2019 at 2:47 am

          Remember these faculty members have no stake in the college itself. The endowment is simply old white male stolen money. They will have no qualms about destroying this college and then moving on to destroy another….with their psychopathic behavior touted as an award.
          Think of how New Yorkers and Californians leave their States and then seek to destroy another.

Aw! It is sad that Oberlin’s blast-email criticizing the jury won’t be used, although the judge’s ruling does make sense. The judge seems to be extremely careful, which gives hope that an appeal will go nowhere.

Gremlin1974 | June 11, 2019 at 3:36 pm

So the Jury wasn’t present for these arguments correct? IANAL.

stevewhitemd | June 11, 2019 at 3:39 pm

As satisfying as it would have been to have the jury see that email, I think the judge is correct in his ruling.

Question: After a judgement like this – won’t it probably take years if not decades of appeals before Gibson’s sees a dime?

    alaskabob in reply to MattMusson. | June 11, 2019 at 4:22 pm

    True, but OC will be expending money against Ohio. Big warning though is how many SJW judges can OC find to “win” it appeal?

      Joelist in reply to alaskabob. | June 11, 2019 at 6:11 pm

      Actually once you’re in the world of appeals judge shopping gets a lot harder. Basically you already know which court of appeals is involved and remember for an appeals court to even take it Oberlin will have to demonstrate reversible legal error either by the judge or jury.

    Gremlin1974 in reply to MattMusson. | June 11, 2019 at 5:23 pm

    Depends, that usually comes down to an equation of how much it will cost to keep fighting vs how much they will have to pay out. Lots of times judgements stand for the simple reason that if they only negative consequence is financial then it is sometimes cheaper to just pay the judgement.

    puhiawa in reply to MattMusson. | June 11, 2019 at 7:39 pm

    They will have to post a significant bond and be subject to 10% interest. And civil jury awards are rarely overturned, although punitives are frequently reduced.

We need to hear Dr. Jordan Peterson’s thoughts on this case and what is happening with Oberlin College. He might have some great insights for us. Can anyone make that happen? Perhaps an interview between Professor Jaconson and Dr. Peterson?

Comanche Voter | June 11, 2019 at 6:42 pm

I suspect there may have been enough evidence presented during the trial to support a full measure of punitive damages. I might think that the insurance company could use the general counsel’s letter and e-mail in considering whether Oberlin has insurance coverage for what it’s done—sort of an ongoing pattern of reprehensible, intentional and thus uninsured conduct.

In a sane judicial system (or even semi-sane one) the judge’s decision to keep the derogatory email from the jury makes sense.

But if (as I expect) a Democrat or GOPe Federal judge swoops in and tosses out the damages against Oberlin (in the Holy Name of “fairness”), this it will have been a waste of time. It would be like posting a NO LOITERING sign in the middle of a riot. The rule of law only works if all parties agree upon it. When the Progressive side declares at the outset that they do not recognize the rights of the Deplorables, then no precautions to safeguard the integrity of the judicial system are worth a flip.

Was it dealt with in limine, or in open court? Sometimes you make an offer of proof you know will be rejected, but are simply leaving an impression.

UnlessroundIsfunny | June 12, 2019 at 1:04 am

To Recovering Lutheran: You are on the right side of this debate, but please stop speculating that some federal judge will step in and overturn this verdict. This is a state court case, on a state court claim, being appealed to a state court of appeals. The federal court have nothing to do with this. Nor is it legally possible for them to be involved, since there are no federal questions of law being litigated. You are just spreading a deranged conspiracy theory that looks silly. There are legitimate abuses of power to be worried about, I agree, but this isn’t one of them.

Dan Stewart | June 12, 2019 at 7:55 am

Apparently a rather stubborn, defiant, dishonest and remorseless mindset resides in the highest reaches of Oberlin’s administration. Course correction seems unlikely.

I don’t see how Oberlin can get this into a federal court on appeal–it completely involves state issues; they can’t argue that they were denied any due process–they had a lengthy trial before a jury. I think the federal courts are bound by a state court judgment unless it somehow implicates a federal issue, such a due process, and I just don’t see that here.