Most Read
Image 01 Image 02 Image 03

Gibson’s Bakery v. Oberlin College trial — Judge keeps out politics, but Town v. Gown frames the case

Gibson’s Bakery v. Oberlin College trial — Judge keeps out politics, but Town v. Gown frames the case

Democrat v. Republican, or vice versa, isn’t at play in the evidence heard in the courtroom, though politics may have sparked the campus reaction to the shoplifting arrests the day after Trump’s victory.

http://oberlinreview.org/11716/news/election-day-rattles-oberlin-with-trump-election/

Closing arguments in Gibson Bros. v. Oberlin College are scheduled for this Wednesday, then the jury gets the case. It’s possible we will have a verdict this week. 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.

Since I first started sitting in the courtroom for the case more than a month ago, I’ve had to explain to media friends and family what I’m up to. The reason they don’t know is that most of the media — both liberal and conservative — have avoided this case, and we’ll save the explanation as to why that is (and not what most of you think it is) for another day.

But once I explain the civil lawsuit to my acquaintances, their first reaction is that this case must be full of political fireworks. You know that drill. The old guy MAGA hats against the millennial lib snowflakes. The red pills and the blue pills. Lots of political ideology either for against liberal art education on 4chan and reddit. More opinions, less substance.

The commenters on this site get into that mindset at times. But this case is not very political at all, on the surface. Let me explain why.

The judge in this case, John R. Miraldi, has kept his foot on the political snake’s legal head from the beginning. Though some like to jump into the complexity of a case like this, it is actually very simple. Students were protesting against Gibson’s and said they were racist but there was no documented history of racism. That claim was false and damaging, according to the plaintiffs.

The business is suing Oberlin College and Dean of Students Meredith Raimondo because they say the school and the Dean assisted the students in putting out that false message. In the end, it is not their political ideology for putting out the false claim (or not) that is at stake here, it is whether they did it or not. Political affiliation really has nothing to do with it, in legal terms.

Judge Miraldi has kept most evidence that has political ramifications out, and the attorneys for both sides have as well. Three quick examples:

• Oberlin College had multiple students they planned on calling but used none of them. Reason? The students would have likely kept insisting from the witness stand that Gibson’s is racist (I know that from my conversations on campus with students that is still how most feel), but the judge would not have allowed that. So, what would the students have had to say? It is obvious that the Oberlin College attorneys figured students testifying would have dug the hole deeper for the college by bringing up their beliefs on racial politics and how they relate to selling cookies and beer, and shoplifters getting arrested.

• Oberlin College got a whiff of that denial of opinion from the witness stand when Chris Jenkins, an associate dean for academic support and equity testified last week. He was on the stand to testify on his role in possibly helping students to copy a flyer that said Gibson’s was racist (he said he didn’t), but then started in a cultural diatribe of sorts. He said he counseled students on “allegations of discrimination and harassment” against them, and then jumped in with, “I personally have had moments in the [Gibson’s] store where I didn’t feel comfortable … “ At that the judge cut him off and told the jury to disregard. Jenkins was soon off the stand after that.

• The jury never heard from Allyn D. Gibson, the mid-30s son of owner David Gibson, and the one who was at the cash register and in the tussle outside when the shoplifting occurred on Nov. 9, 2016. He didn’t appear because of several issues. Oberlin College had wanted him to testify because they had supposedly unearthed some comments he made on Facebook around 2012 that had allegedly some racial overtones to them. Judge Miraldi would not allow that evidence to be included in the case (not related to the case at hand), and the plaintiffs’ attorneys figured they didn’t need him for testimony. Thus, he sat on the sidelines in all this (not much to add, and little risk).

These may seem like non-political examples. But the reason I included them is to show that the judge did not want to open the door even a smidgen to allow this case to get off on a political track. He did not want to students or administrators to use the witness stand to debate if Gibson’s was racist or not. He did not want the school to bring up an expert who might testify that that reason the students were up in arms over racism because of the political climate of November of 2016, and therefore that was the excuse for protesting.

Or allowing the plaintiffs to introduce evidence or testimony that political ideology wasn’t the excuse for, but the cause of, the protests and racial accusations.

In short, Judge Miraldi is keeping this case as simple as he can. Namely, did Oberlin College support and help students defame a business in a way that was against the law? And if so, how much do they owe the business and the individuals allegedly defamed?

That is not to say that the political ramifications of that time and place were not a big part of why this happened and when it did. Since I first heard of this protest in Oberlin on Nov. 10-11 of 2016, my first thought was that it occurred a few days after the Trump-Clinton election. I am convinced that if the shoplifting had occurred three months earlier or three months later, there would have been little or no protest over three African-Americans shoplifting at Gibson’s.

There is no question, however, that the school was ripe for venting anger over racial issues and Trump’s win that the student body was upset with. But the only evidence in this case that has a political bent in that direction was the letter sent out the Oberlin College community on Nov. 11 by school President Marvin Krislov and Raimondo.

This is the opening paragraph that acknowledges that the student body is pissed over the election of Donald Trump:

“This has been a difficult few days for our community, not simply because of the events at Gibson’s Bakery, but because of the fears and concerns that many are feeling in response to the outcome of the presidential election. We write foremost to acknowledge the pain and sadness that many of you are experiencing. We want you to know that the administration, faculty, and staff are here to support you as we work through this moment together.”

There is much more evidence the jury won’t see that the student body was politically pissed and why the protest might have been conjoined to the election. This is from a Nov. 11 story in the student newspaper, The Oberlin Review, titled “Election Day Rattles Oberlin as Trump Prevails.”

“Part of the inconceivable quality of the election is, I don’t know a Trump voter personally, and I can’t imagine someone voting for Trump,” College senior Ariel Miller said. “I’ve tried to think about the issue of uniting our country, like Donald Trump said in his speech last night. But I don’t know how to do it. I don’t know how to reach across that line. I don’t even know who they are.”

This quote came from the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram from their Nov. 10 story, “Oberlin residents, students reeling from election results”:

“I know the anger is going to come eventually, but now I’m too numb to feel anything,” senior Jack Goldberg said. He attributed Trump’s success to sexism. “She should have been president, and America denied her of this because she is a woman and the fact that all of my friends of color are scared for their lives and their safety right now, I don’t even know how to process it, really.”

And this was an op-ed from The Oberlin Review a year later on Nov. 10, 2017, claiming the Gibson’s had a “prideful moral superiority over the College.”

“In reading the legal documents filed by the Gibson family, it is clear that their intention is to provoke an explosive, emotional response from students. Many of the claims they make are against a nameless person or group of people, and are meant to be generally incendiary rather than substantive. The documents also have racist undertones that further expose the core reasons for the lawsuit. The Gibsons’ have no interest in finding any resolution to this conflict — instead, they seek to assert their prideful moral superiority over the College, which they view as biased and discriminatory.”

You can now see why the lawyers for Oberlin College kept the students off the stand. Because if they did as the judge instructed, and kept their testimony to whether the college helped to defame the business or not, they might have had nothing to say.

What this case has more to do with, and I have concluded this after hearing weeks of testimony, is that the town and gowns issue is more prevalent here, and that transcends some of the Republican V. Democrats  explanatory thoughts on this case from outside the courtroom and outside Oberlin itself. What Oberlin College seemed to be doing was satisfying the gown by acting badly to the town. Politics no doubt added to the problem, but the basis for Gibson’s claim is more about a small business being bullied by the big business in town. That big business, ironically, was the liberal arts college.

A big question, though, is whether the closing arguments by both sides will included some political rejoinders that may sway a juror or two toward their side.

Once again, not likely that the attorneys run down that road in this case. Lorain County is a mixed bag politically, having voted for all the statewide Republicans in 2014, and all the Democrats in 2018. Former President Barack Obama won the county easily in 2008 and 2012 with about 58% of the vote in both elections.

But the main reason the attorneys probably won’t bring up too much cultural-based political themes in their closings is what happened in Lorain County in the 2016 presidential election. Hillary Clinton got 66,949 votes (47.34%), while Donald Trump got 66,818 (47.24%). Start blaming one political side or the other for this libel case, and you will most likely piss off half of the jury.

Closing arguments are set to begin Wednesday. The eight-member jury will get the case for deliberation after that. Only six need agree on a verdict.

[Featured Image: Oberlin Review]

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

————

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

Donate Now!

DONATE

Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.

Comments

i hope the Gibson family wins a YUGE award…

I wonder how many of those Clinton votes were real? Hahaha 🙂

Wrong. Bringing up politics would not have alienated half the jury.

Bringing up politics would have alienated a third of the jury on the opposite side of the issue. It would also have alienated a third of the jury who don’t care at all about politics but are pissed that you bring politics into and raise a shitstorm.

Great writeup, Danial. Thanks.

    Tom Servo in reply to snopercod. | June 4, 2019 at 6:53 am

    Agreed! Thanks to your insights, I think I have a guess as to one of the great mysteries (to me at least) of this case – why didn’t Oberlin settle and get rid of this case a year or more ago? And after reading your account of how Oberlin had several students they wanted to call, but who they then dropped as witnesses (resulting in the defense presenting almost no actual witnesses at all, just an accountant who admitted he’d never even been to the town), I believe they were completely surprised by the Judge’s handling of this case. (even though they shouldn’t have been) I believe Oberlin went into this thinking that they were going to be able to “Prove” that the Gibson’s really were racist and that they deserved everything they got. I think that was always going to be their defense, and they thought it was a slam dunk. And then the trial started, and the Judge threw out every line of testimony that Oberlin wanted to pursue, and suddenly they were stuck in the middle of a trial with no strategy at all about how to fight it. (yeah, that’s bad Lawyering to let it get to that point, but it’s the Client who made the most foolish decisions)

    I believe that a private person, or a tightly held business could have made a decision to settle even after trial started, once they saw how badly it was going – but an organization like Oberlin, where no one is really “in charge” and everyone is scared of what others will say about them, settlement was impossible. If this ship of litigation was going to sail straight into an iceberg, well then they were all going down with that ship, and that’s just how it was going to be.

“He attributed Trump’s success to sexism. ‘She should have been president, and America denied her of this because she is a woman and the fact that all of my friends of color are scared for their lives and their safety right now, I don’t even know how to process it, really.'”
___________________

Lol, what a moron.

A bunch of spoiled, whiny, ill-informed, hysterical twits, upset that their preferred candidate (a corrupt, venal woman with no notable accomplishments other than having a vagina) lost an election, decided to act out and destroy a small business just because they could.

It’s just too damn bad that the entire student body won’t have to contribute to paying what will hopefully be a massive damages award to Gibson’s.

    JusticeDelivered in reply to Observer. | June 3, 2019 at 10:28 pm

    “It’s just too damn bad that the entire student body won’t have to contribute to paying what will hopefully be a massive damages award to Gibson’s.”

    I hope Gibsons sues the most belligerent staff and students personally.

      Tom Servo in reply to JusticeDelivered. | June 4, 2019 at 6:20 am

      I understand the sentiment, but once this case if decided, then it’s over. Gibson’s get’s one bite at the legal apple. Of course, in the current case i believe they did sue Dean Raimondo individually, along with Oberlin, and it would be satisfying to see her tagged with some liability.

        healthguyfsu in reply to Tom Servo. | June 4, 2019 at 7:15 am

        Her tort liability is still covered under the university.

        Naming her in the lawsuit does provide more avenues in trial to expose her personally, but it won’t lead to damages. It may lead to her firing or move to another job, though.

    Merlin01 in reply to Observer. | June 4, 2019 at 8:09 am

    I’m going to have to respectfully disagree with one of your statements.

    “It’s just too damn bad that the entire student body won’t have to contribute to paying what will hopefully be a massive damages award to Gibson’s.”

    This is just like the argument that raising taxes on businesses punish the business. The business doesn’t pay taxes it collects taxes from customers. Just like in this case the students pay tuition, hence they are all paying for a settlement or judgement. I suppose the alumni are also contributing. The real same is that ALL students will be paying and not just those involved.

John Casteel | June 3, 2019 at 9:17 pm

In many ways, this whole saga is a condemnation of the kind of students who choose Oberlin College: Poster children for the woke, perpetually outraged with empty heads.

The students were angry about the election and decided to “struggle” the bakery because it was a convenient stand-in for everything their Oberlin instructors told them was wrong with America ie; sexism, white privilege, racism, finacial injustice. All of it highly charged political fare.

And from what it looks like select Oberlin staff egged students on to Struggle the bakery.

And then Oberlin cut off or blacklisted(?) the bakery.

Years ago I’d probably not have awarded damages to the bakery, but these are not normal times.

As a jury member I’d probably secretly decide to punish Oberlin if internal Oberlin documents showed a slight but upward trending degree of malice against the bakery

counsel4pay | June 3, 2019 at 9:58 pm

Question: HAS GIBSONS/COUNSEL PREPARED FOR POSSIBLE VERDICTS?

Plaintiffs’ attorneys have a duty to do more than appear at trial–the better ones accept a duty to advise and prepare their client at every step of the lawsuit. The firms I worked for might: dress the clients (going to stores with them even); attend to their dental and physical health (image may be positive or negative); arranged for their lodging/care before/during/after trial. They were more than “clients”–they were family. Trial is an ORDEAL; and a form of COMBAT, with words and actions in place of bullets and bombs. Is the Gibson family prepared for all possible outcomes?

* Have formal statements been crafted IN ADVANCE for either loss; win small; win big?
* Has one or more of the clients been (carefully) selected to be “the face of Gibsons” who might appear at a press conference, make a live public statement?
* Who is going to be present during deliberations and who might talk to jurors after verdict, IF THE JURORS WANT IT? [We learned that most juries expected one PLAINTIFF or non-lawyer representative to be present during EVERY DAY OF DELIBERATIONS–if the plaintiffs/heirs weren’t there, did they seem not to care?? YOUR REPRESENTATIVE SAYS N-O-T O-N-E W-O-R-D during deliberations to any jury member as they come and go, BUT THEY STAND WHEN THE JURY TAKES BREAKS IF THAT IS THE LOCAL CUSTOM. [In my present So. Cal. county, after the verdict, the TRIAL JUDGE GIVES A UNIQUE, HEARTFELT, AND TOUCHING APPRECIATION TO JURY, THANKS THEM FOR THEIR CIVIC SERVICE, AND THEN COMMANDS ALL PRESENT TO STAND FOR JURORS AS THEY LEAVE COURTROOM AS A SYMBOL OF RESPECT AND HONOR. [I LIKE this simple, but touching, recognition of the rigors of jury service.]
* What decisions/preparations have been made for IMMEDIATE post-verdict contact with the jury? [My experience has been, when a jury gave our people $20-30M, the jurors wanted to hug accident survivors; or the heirs; etc. They didn’t care to hug the lawyers, but they wanted CLOSURE by physical contact and verbal interaction with the people on whose side they chose to give the win. [They wanted to cry with widows; weep with mothers who had lost their children; mourn for those left with permanent disfiguring or mentally/emotionally disabling injuries or conditions.]
* Are there contingency plans for store closure under alternative scenarios? Is the company FIRE/THEFT/CIVIL DISCORD insurance in good standing–will it cover eventualities short of acts of God or actual war? [Do specialists need to look over those policies?]
* Is there a possible need for PHYSICAL SECURITY at store or peoples homes? Does the word “DOXXING” strike fear in your heart–it does mine!] Again, if it’s me, and there’s a BIG WIN, I would get the h#ll out of town with relatives or friends and TELL NO ONE I DID NOT TRUST where I was. Paranoid? H3ll yes! The snowflakes and SJWs of Oberlin have already shown their insanity–be prepared.
* The older, less robust family members may need additional security measures–and avoid contacts with press. Do they have “temporary cell phones” with unlisted numbers? Are they prepared to turn off/unplug their “land lines/iPhones/etc.”? [What about SHUTTING DOWN, even temporarily, their SOCIAL MEDIA or known e-mails? Saying the wrong things can FUEL and motivate people who cannot seem to accept “truth”.
* Have family members/staff been counseled about INTERACTIONS WITH PRESS…WITH STUDENTS…etc? [What clients may say AFTER TRIAL could end up being quoted in “Motion for New Trial”; “Motion for Remittitur”; Appeal; etc. [LOOSE LIPS SINK SHIPS and can hurt verdicts.]
* IF, a “public announcement/press conference” appears necessary, have plans been made for the MOST FAVORABLE/SAFE/CONTROLLED VENUE; PARTICIPANTS/ETC?

Some one needs to “game this all out”–multiple contingencies. Any statements need to include SIMPLE, VERY SHORT appreciation for the “Trial Judge”; “his clerks”; the “bailiffs and other court personnel” and SOMEWHAT LONGER APPRECIATIONS (no specific names) about THE MEN AND WOMEN OF THE JURY WHO [fill in this space, e.g. “showed the world, once again, that the American Justice system is the most fair and honest in all the world”. THE JURORS, I SUBMIT, WILL DESERVE TO HEAR GOOD THINGS ABOUT THEM [in general terms; no names] and an acknowledgement of their service: “This was a long, hard trial, but the jury was always attentive, and active, making notes and evaluating not only the witnesses’ statements but their credibility. This jury made its decision ON THE LAW AND THE FACTS of this case.”

    p1cunnin in reply to counsel4pay. | June 3, 2019 at 10:28 pm

    I think that’s very important. I expect that if the jury comes back for Gibson’s, the unhinged will burn the place down. Even if they don’t burn the place down, stealing will be commonplace because “they won all that money — and it’s ours anyway”. A win for Gibson’s will likely be a Pyrrhic victory. I simply can’t see the store surviving. If I’m the Gibsons and win, I lock the store and mail the keys to the Dean of Students.

      Tom Servo in reply to p1cunnin. | June 4, 2019 at 6:35 am

      Allow me to express a contrary point of view – as in the original protest, I don’t think the students will do much of anything at all unless Oberlin College itself organizes and directs it.

      In this case, I believe that even if the result is a total win for Gibson’s, the Defendants are going to either pretend it didn’t happen or go off and sulk. Now Raimondo will be bent out of shape, but she’s just one person. Everyone else involved on the defendant’s side will tell themselves They’re Not Responsible and act like it’s Old News.

      anyway, that’s my prediction. I’ve had some experience with lowlifes – once you knock the piss and vinegar out of them, they’re nothing.

    JusticeDelivered in reply to counsel4pay. | June 3, 2019 at 11:09 pm

    They also need to be armed and proficient with their weapons.

    They should have a semi-auto rifle, a 12 gauge semi-auto shotgun and a 9mm handgun. I recently bought a Taurus 9mm G2C, 12+1, 2 clips for $180. It has very good reviews.

    By the way, stay away from Gander Outdoors, they are a really obnoxious and grossly incompetent company.

    Subotai Bahadur in reply to counsel4pay. | June 3, 2019 at 11:40 pm

    I agree with every point and would add that I fully expect deadly violence to be employed against the family and probably arson against their property. And fully expect Oberlin to be behind it supporting it all.

    Things are coming to a head nationwide, and I kinda expect that the turn to violence after the Left loses in court will make resorting to the judicial system moot for a while.

    Subotai Bahadur

Only 6 of 8 need agree? I’m thinking this pretty much guarantees a loss for Oberlin from what I’ve read of testimony.

And here’s another question- after Oberlin loses- do the students riot and burn down the town? Have preparations been made for that?

    counsel4pay in reply to gospace. | June 3, 2019 at 11:41 pm

    Yes, gospace, I share your optimism. I also appreciate numerous commentators’ opinions about the importance of the coming verdict. This case could establish a precedent for ACADEMIC LIABILITY for student unrest. Such precedent is urgently needed. Colleges and Universities must be confronted with the economic and legal consequences of allowing their “misguided children” to dictate an institutions policy. A BIG WIN, for which I daily pray, could do much to alter the course of the terrible path now followed by too many “institutions of higher learning”. MAKE THEM PAY.

    No win is guaranteed. Crucial steps in the judicial process remain to be concluded. Nevertheless, I believe, strongly, that Gibson’s chose wise counsel and have followed a blueprint of honesty and fairness which will give them the BIG WIN. Pray with me.

    nomadic100 in reply to gospace. | June 4, 2019 at 7:35 am

    Aren’t all the “students” out for summer break now?

      johnnycab23513 in reply to nomadic100. | June 5, 2019 at 1:16 pm

      Yes, but communist democrat controlled domestic terrorist groups like Antifa and Black Lives Matter do not take breaks!

    JusticeDelivered in reply to gospace. | June 4, 2019 at 10:30 am

    That would create an opportunity to put the the worst players down. That is the best way to deal with rioters, looters and arsonists. A fringe benefit is it helps purge the gene pool of defectives, kind of jumpstarts evolution.

    Many years ago I read a book which characterized people’s poor choices as “Evolution in action”. I thought that was a pretty neat quote.

    I think that society has made a mistake in short circuiting evolution, and that for the good of humanity we need to use more sense in how and where we interfere with the natural order of things.

I largely agree with Mr. McGraw. The political motivations were largely irrelevant in this case and would only have serve as a distraction. The plaintiffs only had to prove three things in this case.

1) That Gibson’s was defamed by being called racist by the protestors.
2)That Gibson’s suffered demonstrable economic loss from being branded as racist, how much they lost and that the loss was likely to be continual for the next 10-30 years.
3) That Oberlin college aided and assisted in knowingly defaming Gibson’s by providing material support and direction to the protestors.

Point 1 was a slam dunk. Point 2 was also easily proven, thought the estimated loss could be a little tricky to pin down. Proving point 3 was the hardest,a d also the most important. If the plaintiffs can prove the the college actively aided and abetted the defamation of the business, then college can be found liable for part or all of the compensatory damages, as well as punitive damages. based upon the reports here, I personally think that the plaintiffs proved all three points. But juries can be fickle and even if they find for the plaintiffs, there is no telling what damages they will assign.

When the facts are on your side, pound the facts. If the law is on your side, pound the law. If you have neither the facts nor the law, pound the table.

OneVoiceInAmerica | June 4, 2019 at 5:22 am

The jurors will still have to live there after the verdict. I think the lines will be drawn between jurors who might be intimidated by the fear of Oberlin students going after them and their family next vs jurors who might refuse to be intimidated, and jurors with indirect busine$$ ties to the college. Fearful peasant, die fighting warrior or mercenary motivations.

    MajorWood in reply to OneVoiceInAmerica. | June 4, 2019 at 6:14 pm

    This trial is in Lorain County, not Oberlin, which at 8000 people only comprises about 2-3% of the counties population. Some of the jurors may have never even driven through Oberlin as Rte 20 skirts the town. Senior Mr Gibson lived about a block west of the campus and even then they had to drive there ;-). The store is located in the middle of a business block which faces Tappan square. There are apartments above most of the businesses, and the college bookstore occupies the building on one end, so a fire could possibly take out the entire downtown and risk human lives. One person in front in a car, one person in back in a car, and a half dozen security cameras would safely guard it. But we know there are no limits to stupidity so it is a possibility. I spent the summer there after graduation and the place is pretty dead.

    It seems extremely unlikely that anyone living outside of Oberlin will face any danger from Oberlin students. Starting with the advent of the automobile age, Oberlin didn’t allow students to have a car on campus. There were always a few exceptions, but not many. So students mostly get around by bicycle or walking. I’ve heard that that policy was changed, I think in the 1990s, but the campus culture is still that travel is done by bike or on foot, and few students have cars. I presume the jurors are from all over Lorain County. Elyria itself is about an hour bike ride from Oberlin. The idea that students will hop on their bikes, armed with weapons, and ride all over Lorain County seeking out the jurors strikes me as absurd.

    If school were in session when the verdict comes in, I can see students demanding the school shut down classes for yet another “Day of Solidarity”, as they did back in 2013 when a student mistook someone walking around late at night wrapped in a blanket for someone wearing KKK regalia. (https://www.oberlin.edu/news/day-solidarity) But the school won’t be in session then, and by the time the students come back in the fall, the verdict will be old news.

    As for people who live in Oberlin, there may be some hateful things done, but I think the students have a sufficient understanding of the consequences they could face if they did any actual violence, that the worst they’ll do is the sort of thing they did to the school’s Computer Science Dept. Chair about a week after they picketed Gibsons.

    There had been a black professor who had posted hateful anti-Semitic comments on social media. The school had pretty much ignored it until alumni got organized and pressured the school to take action. School officials deliberated for over half a year, and finally, just about a week after the Gibson’s demonstration, the school announced that the professor was being let go. Because the professor was black, lots of students screamed “racism”, but most didn’t do much else other than occasional harassment of Jewish students on campus. Three days after the announcement of the professor’s firing, the Chair of the Computer Science Dept., who happens to be Jewish, was awakened around 3:00 AM by noises on his front porch. When he looked outside, he found that some seashells on his porch that his family had collected on vacation had been smashed, and a note made from cut-out magazine letters had been left under the mezuzah on his doorframe. The note read, “Gas, Jews, Die!” The Oberlin police never solved the case, so nobody knows for certain who did it, but the evidence strongly suggests that his family was specifically targeted, very likely by student SJWs.

    Another article in this series (https://legalinsurrection.com/2019/05/gibsons-bakery-v-oberlin-college-trial-day-5-90-year-old-allyn-w-gibson-testifies-some-threats-made-to-us/) describes how Allyn W. Gibson was injured. Somebody banged on his window late at night. He went out to look, and saw a car in the parking lot with its headlights on, which was unusual for that hour. But the people in the car didn’t do anything. When he turned around to go back into his apartment, he tripped and fell.

    It seems that whoever’s doing this (I’m guessing radicalized students, but there’s no definite proof) is intent on harassing people, but they know enough to stop short of direct physical attacks.

      artichoke in reply to MBR. | June 5, 2019 at 4:18 pm

      ” … but most didn’t do much else other than occasional harassment of Jewish students on campus. ”

      Really, is that all they did? Aww shucks, that’s nothing right?

I think people here are overrating the result of the verdict. The students don’t care if Oberlin has to pay money. I doubt the students have any loyalty to the college. There won’t be any national coverage if Gibsons wins. The media never covered this story. No one is burning down the store. We are talking about serious jail time. These rich self absorbed kids don’t want to go to prison. Is the average student even following the lawsuit?

The judge was certainly right to keep the proceedings apolitical. This doesn’t change the fact that progressives are increasingly violent and contemptuous of rational discourse. This is the underlying reality behind the defamation of Gibson’s.

The Packetman | June 4, 2019 at 7:09 am

I have a question … will the jury first decide guilt and separate deliberation on damages, or will they come back with the works at one time?

The reason I ask, is it possible for the jury to offer other remedies for punitive damages, such as terminating Raimondo and Oberlin having to issue a public mea culpa, detailing their transgressions and promising to keep better control of the students and staff.

    Tom Servo in reply to The Packetman. | June 4, 2019 at 9:02 am

    I believe a jury is limited to financial compensation only. Also, in a civil trial the Jury isn’t deciding “guilt” at all, they’re deciding liability and compensation.

I don’t think that the students will do anything if there is a verdict for Gibsons. Most of them are out for the summer; some of them have graduated; and they’ve probably moved on to other SJW projects.

I think there’s going to be a verdict for Gibsons–the real question is how much–I think the damages part of their case was the toughest and most speculative.

I went to the Oberlin website and Facebook just to see what the college was like–I’ve never seen such self-important people in my life; and the view of the graduation ceremony was perplexing–many of the students couldn’t be bothered to dress appropriately; and one idiot had on shorts with his mortar board. It says a lot about what even the students think about this place.

    elliesmom in reply to rochf. | June 4, 2019 at 10:29 am

    I agree. The attention span for an issue for the average college student ends when the protest does. They’re on summer break. Whatever the verdict is, the media attention, such as it is, will have died down by September. The students who like to do business at Gibson’s have probably already returned. The ones who were originally upset, if they stayed upset, have found other places to shop. The ones who only cared about what other students thought about them and were not really put out with the bakery are shopping there on the down-low for the stuff they really missed. The new freshman will be oblivious to the whole fiasco. They’ll explore their new surroundings, and some of them will love Gibson’s.

    I think that’s what makes assessing the lost revenue so hard. The college is unlikely to renew its contracts with Gibson’s if they lose the bakery’s lawsuit. They’re unlikely to return to the arrangement they had where the bakery accepted the college’s “money cards”. While that might not prevent students from shopping there, it does take away some of the convenience. But if there’s a shop that’s an easy walk from the school that caters to the needs of students, the kids will come back. It might be slow at first, but from what I understand from the comments on travel websites, Gibson’s doesn’t have a lot of competition for the kids’ money.

      artichoke in reply to elliesmom. | June 4, 2019 at 6:45 pm

      From what I hear, the word is pervasive on campus that you don’t shop at Gibson’s. Freshmen will first of all conform to what upperclassmen tell them. They have plenty to handle without risking ostracism, more like guaranteed ostracism.

      Admissions seems to admit a certain type of kid there, who is prone to go left and hate Trump. Colleges contain an element that’s only indirectly observable, and that’s the soft judgments made in the admissions office every year. Given the very intense leftist political flavor there since forever, one can assume that admissions is going along with the flow and reputation of the place and admitting students who will do the same things that other recent students have done.

EdisonCarter | June 4, 2019 at 9:47 am

Request: can we please speak of jurors as being “annoyed” or “alienated” rather than “pissed-off?”

Albigensian | June 4, 2019 at 10:31 am

Aside from the politics of the 2016 election, town-gown conflict is never far below the surface in any relatively small town that hosts a rich, prestigious college. Jurors may pro-Trump or anti-Trump or even don’t-much-care, but every one of them will identify strongly with town or gown.

As for the students, many would presumably find it shocking that courts actually have rules of evidence. And that their “I know racism when I see it” feelings and apparent moral certainties are evidence only that they’d benefit from a higher quality education then they’re apparently receiving at Oberlin, one that insisted they at least make an honest attempt to understand the PoV of those trying to operate this business.

counsel4pay | June 4, 2019 at 12:44 pm

Wow–some polar opposite extreme views here. (1) One extreme I reject = “lock and load” your firearms. (2) The other is only a little less worrisome = “expect NO backlash if Gibson’s wins–the students could not care less and this little trial has NO national implications”.

1. The wise prepare for any serious possibility.
2. There is a still, small voice I must heed which warns against either view.

“Hope for the best and prepare for the worst” is a providential path to overcome perils great or small. I DO, HOWEVER, REJECT a “lock and load” approach AT THIS TIME AND FOR THIS SITUATION. [Massive civil disruptions coming, but not yet.]

    elliesmom in reply to counsel4pay. | June 4, 2019 at 1:56 pm

    There just aren’t very many regular students at the school at this time of year. By the time September comes around tempers will have cooled. While the hot summer might make a city ripe for disruptions, colleges are sleepy places then. You get things like the Kent State unrest in the spring, but then the kids all go home. At Oberlin over 90% of the kids live on campus so the end of May is a giant move-out. A lot of the people who attend their summer programs are high school students and adult music students. It’s a different place from June to September.

      artichoke in reply to elliesmom. | June 4, 2019 at 7:25 pm

      Kent State was a much different situation. Those students’ lives were actually at some risk. They could be drafted to go to Vietnam, where we saw the killed and wounded stats every night on the evening news. Some of the “peacenik” motivation — the excusable part in my opinion — was self preservation.

      Times are different, and I’m not aware that Kent State had the extreme politics that Oberlin does today. Today the students are at no risk — unless of course they shop at Gibson’s, in which case they’ve been told by fellow students that they are at risk.

      I don’t see this changing by fall, absent a big effort by Oberlin administration, which on the current evidence I see no reason to expect.

        MajorWood in reply to artichoke. | June 4, 2019 at 10:31 pm

        I hope that the members of the jury are experiencing the same type of gut-level disgust that I have for the responsible college administrators. I think some of the Oberlin types are about to get a formal introduction to the real world.

ObieWanKanObie | June 4, 2019 at 2:36 pm

I understand why the judge would not allow politics of the election in the trial. That makes good sense.

The way I understand it, Oberlin’s only realistic defense would have been to show that Gibson’s did actually have a “long history of racism” (as published in the pamphlet) and thus the alleged libel was true. That’s a very difficult defense (and I do not believe Gibson’s is racist). Whether that defense had succeed or failed it would have utterly destroyed “town-gown” good will.

But if the judge inadvertently excluded something that could be construed as prohibiting Oberlin from making this argument, would that be grounds for a mistrial or appeal?

I live in a University community, and I can tell you that from the students’ perspective, this place is dead in the summer. We all take advantage of it to go to restaurants, movies, and other things that are too crowded during the school year.

One of the benefits of the main stream media not covering this is that there are very few professional protesters who know anything about it, or care about it, and if the verdict comes next week, very few students will be on campus to do anything. If the verdict is for Gibsons, I doubt if Oberlin is going to trumpet their loss from the rooftops.

It seems the lawyers withheld good advice to get a bigger fee. The good advice was to make an offer to settle they couldn’t refuse.

A couple observations that relate to comments made:
The majority of students are gone for the summer
The jury pool was from the entire county, not just Oberlin.
I have had reason to be in Oberlin 3 times since the trial began. Each time I made a point of stopping in and purchasing a delightful baked goodie from Gibsons, all 3 times there was an Oberlin College student purchasing something there as well.
Lastly, thank you Mr McGraw for you daily reporting on this case.

Font Resize
Contrast Mode
Send this to a friend