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Oberlin College hit with maximum PUNITIVE DAMAGES (capped at $22 million by law) in Gibson’s Bakery case

Oberlin College hit with maximum PUNITIVE DAMAGES (capped at $22 million by law) in Gibson’s Bakery case

Added to $11 million compensatory damages, brings total to $33 million

The jury just rendered its verdict on punitive damages in the Gibson’s Bakery v. Oberlin College case.

Daniel McGraw, our reporter in the courtroom, reports that in addition to the $11.2 million compensatory damages awarded last Friday, the jury awarded a total of $33 million in punitive damages, which will probably be reduced by the court to $22 million because of the state law cap at twice compensatory (it’s not an absolute cap, but probably will apply here). That brings the total damages to $33 million. We will have the breakdown soon. The jury also awarded attorney’s fees, to be determined by the judge.

The breakdown was:

David Gibson – $17.5 million punitive damages

Allyn W. Gibson — $8.75 million punitive damages

Gibson Bros. Inc. (the Bakery) – $6,973,500 punitive damages

MY STATEMENT about the verdict:

“Oberlin College tried to sacrifice a beloved 5th-generation bakery, its owners, and its employees, at the altar of political correctness in order to appease the campus ‘social justice warfare’ mob. The jury sent a clear message that the truth matters, and so do the reputations and lives of people targeted by false accusations, particularly when those false accusations are spread by powerful institutions. Throughout the trial the Oberlin College defense was tone-deaf and demeaning towards the bakery and its owners, calling the bakery nearly worthless. The jury sent a message that all lives matter, including the lives of ordinary working people who did nothing wrong other than stop people from stealing.”


David Gibson reacted:

I appreciate from the jury that they took care of this Goliath. That took a lot of guts on their part. They made it so that we have a chance and an opportunity to keep the lights on. [overcome with emotion] Gives us an opportunity to keep the lights on for another generation.”

Daniel McGraw Reports on What Happened When The Verdict Was Read

The Gibson family was visibly shocked by the amount, as most in the courtroom were thinking the jury’s final punitive damages verdict in the case might top out at maybe $10 million. The fact that it was triple that amount means in many ways that perhaps the jury understood that the whole country was watching.

“We never wanted any of this to go to court and have to spend all this time in litigation,” David Gibson said exclusively to the Legal Insurrection. David Gibson is the lead plaintiff in the case and is the principal owner of the business.

“People have no idea on how much stress this has had on our family and business for almost three years. But from the beginning, we just didn’t understand why they were punishing us for something we had nothing to do with.”

“We appreciate that the jury understood what we had gone through, and I think they were saying to the entire country that we can’t allow this to happen to hard-working, small business people whose lives are defined by their business, their family, and their community,” he said.” What the college was doing was trying to take away all those things from us, and we fought hard against that.”

The final tally on punitive damages that Oberlin College has been ordered to pay for by the jury is thus: $17,500,000 million for David Gibson, $8,750,000 for Allyn W. “Grandpa” Gibson, and $6,973,500 for the bakery business.

Allyn W. Gibson, age 90 and the patriarch of the business that has been in Oberlin since 1885, wanted to make sure people understood the Gibson family and business were not against students at Oberlin College in any way.

“I have been here my whole life and I love the students and the energy they bring to our community, and people who know me know I always love being with them,” he said. “Students can be great people or they can be bad, just like all of us can be, but they need guidance at that age, and they weren’t getting it when this all started.”

Some of the defenders of Oberlin College have claimed that the Gibsons’ were just in it for punishment on this case, and never tried to settle. That could not be further from the truth. According to Lee Plakas, lead attorney for the Gibsons’, a letter was sent before the case was filed in Nov. of 2017 asking for at least some talks on settlement and no answer was sent back (this reporter has seen it).

In early 2018, according to Plakas, two days of talks with a mediator were done, but nothing close to a settlement was achieved. In fact, the talks were initiated by the Gibson’s and “We were ready, willing and able to not have this case go to trial, but Oberlin College and their insurance company seemed to have no interest in settling this case,” Plakas said.

“As they have done throughout this case, they thought that they were above everyone else, and that the rules and working to settle such an egregious case of defaming a good family like the Gibsons’ was beneath them,” he added.

What this punitive award means is both simple and complicated in many ways. Under Ohio law, punitive awards are capped in most cases at double the compensatory amount already arrived at. In this case, that would mean the punitive damage could be no more than $22.4 million, half of the compensatory damages laid on Oberlin College and far less than the $33 million waylaid on the school today by the jury.

However, there are exceptions in the legislation passed in Ohio in 2008 on the punitive damages cap (ironically it was passed to protect small businesses from having high damages awarded against them, not for them, as in like this case), and Judge John R. Miraldi, the Lorain County Common Pleas judge in this case, will decide on how much of the $33 million will go to the Gibsons.

But it will be more than likely get down closer to the $22.4 million level. Plus, the jury said that the attorneys’ fees that Gibsons’ would have had to pay out of its verdict awards (often at 30% of jury verdict awards), would now have to be paid by Oberlin College. That could be an additional $10 million put on the school’s plate. Judge Miraldi will decide that as well, not any jury.

For those who have speculated that these jury verdicts will be pared down substantially or denied by an appeals court, that also is not good speculation. Yes, there will likely be appeals, but in order to win an appeal in a civil tort case, Oberlin College would have to prove that Judge Miraldi and the jury made egregious decision that went against Ohio law. For those of us in the courtroom, and for legal observers who know more about this than me, appeals reversals are unlikely. And Miraldi was very careful in setting the bar pretty high on evidentiary rulings.

However, if this does ever get to the Ohio Supreme Court, that could be about two years down the road, not a decade.

But in the end, this was a case that will be one that is pointed to as a “tipping point” of sorts. Plakas repeatedly told the jury that this was bigger than them, and that they could make a statement to the country “that this type of behavior is unacceptable to any community because a big collegiate institution like Oberlin College has a responsibility to their community and neighbors, and not just to themselves.”

Plakas told Legal Insurrection why he joined up to represent the Gibson family in a case that early on seemed to be difficult to win. “I was stunned early on when I saw the early letters and emails from the college on this matter that favored their biased ideology over what should have been some semblance of intellectual balance,” he said.

“What [Oberlin College] did to the Gibsons’ was irrational … and that part of it really angered me as just a private person who saw what was happening to the Gibsons. You would expect a highly regarded university, with a long history of being a great school in this country, would have disregarded what we would think of as a basic thought process,” Plakas continued.

“We worked hard on this, and I am proud of our legal team so much,” he said. “But the Gibson family were the ones that worked the hardest. They knew from the beginning that the only way to get justice, to get their name restored, was to work hard and sacrifice. They had to lay off workers and go without salary, and most would have just quit and folded up the business. But they didn’t.”

“They did what a lot of people wouldn’t do, and the country should realize that what they did will benefit many of us in many ways for many years.”

The View Inside The Courtoom

[Judge John Miraldi reads punitive damages verdict][Photo credit Bob Perkoski for Legal Insurrection Foundation]

[Meredith Raimondo and Oberlin College lawyers listen as punitive damages verdict is read][Photo credit Bob Perkoski for Legal Insurrection Foundation]

[Lee Plakas greets Allyn W. Gibson after punitive damages verdict][Photo credit Bob Perkoski for Legal Insurrection Foundation]

[David Gibson hugs grandson after punitive damages verdict][Photo credit Bob Perkoski for Legal Insurrection Foundation]

[Gibson Family and legal team after punitive damages verdict][Photo credit Bob Perkoski for Legal Insurrection Foundation]

EARLIER – Closing Arguments

In closing argument, Gibson’s lawyer Lee Plakas argued:

“Why is the country watching you. Because the country agrees that what happened to the Gibsons should not happen to anyone, but could happen to everyone.”

” Colleges are watching us and you. Because they all know the way colleges are run will be affected, and by your decisions, they will be”

Plakas ended by reading to the jury the poem “For Whom the Bell Tolls” by John Donne

No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend’s were.
Each man’s death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.

Defense attorney Rachelle Kuznicki argued:

“We cannot change the past, we can learn from it.”

“This will impact people who had nothing to do with the protest …, it also means less students who are not able to afford a college education will be able to do so.”

Legal Insurrection Prior Coverage

We had the most extensive coverage of this dispute and trial. Below are many (but not all) our prior posts, which serve as something of a historical record of this case.

Pre-Trial Posts:

Trial Posts:

Post-Verdict Posts

Punitive Damages Hearing Posts

[Featured Image: David Gibson and Allyn W. Gibson at trial][Photo credit Bob Perkoski for Legal Insurrection Foundation]


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

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Thank you Professor Jacobson and Legal Insurrection! Now on to Covington!

Next up for a lesson — the MSM outlets that slandered the Covington MAGA Hat boys. Go get ‘em.

Gremlin1974 | June 13, 2019 at 9:08 pm

Well that’s bound to leave a mark.

OwenKellogg-Engineer | June 13, 2019 at 9:11 pm

This Alumnus: Evan Gerstmann, is also “tone-deaf”. I expected something better when I turned to Forbes to see its coverage of the case. I guess I won’t be taking their advice on much of anything now….

    Colonel Travis in reply to OwenKellogg-Engineer. | June 13, 2019 at 9:51 pm

    Author: “I am a professor and publish on constitutional and educational issues.”

    What an embarrassment. He kept arguing it was a free speech case. Nice to know parents are spending good money to have their kids brainwashed, ah, educated by this guy who is either a dunce or a liar.

    So fed up with all the shallowness in America pretending to be intellectualism.

tic...tic...BOOM | June 13, 2019 at 9:17 pm

Here’s a nugget that is interesting. In addition to being a race baiter, it should come as no surprise that she is also an anti-semite.

Here she is, smiling at her appointment as VP and dean of students.

DouglasJBender | June 13, 2019 at 9:49 pm


Ugly is as ugly does.

Great to see the good guys can still win every now and again. LI absolutely crushed it with their coverage of this. Great job!

Attorney’s fees may awarded on top of this. A 25% contingency fee would be another $8 million or so. How much is the court likely to give? If less do the plaintiff’s make up the difference from their settlement do the lawyers just take what the court gives them?

So good to see the ‘Lords of the Manor’ having to pay attention to the Peasants. This is their mind-set.

Wonderful verdict, and wonderful coverage by LI.

This would make a terrific movie about a terrible Goliath and a beautiful, hard working American family who triumphed.

But you know that will never happen in today’s Hollywod. We know, though, we know.

Thank you Mr. Plakas!

    RNJD in reply to Patricia. | June 13, 2019 at 11:41 pm

    Unfortunately the Hollywood version would have the black shoplifter suing Gibson’s and winning $100 million, with Dean Raimondo featured as the star witness. Fresh from her success passing the California bar exam, Kim Kardashian would play the young, idealistic lawyer fighting for racial justice. Academy Awards for everyone!

      You forgot the sub-plot mid-trial of the sex tape that comes out featuring kardashian.

      MajorWood in reply to RNJD. | June 14, 2019 at 2:28 am

      I am just looking upon it as a 2-1/2 yr long episode of Fawlty Towers. Basil was the king of doubling-down.

      I am glad that the Gibsons prevailed in this and now reside in a position of strength. But I am also pretty certain that no amount of money can replace the loss of peace and serenity that the family had to endure for the last 2-1/2 years. That is the part which burns me about Oberlin right now. You can just feel how having ‘the one” as president just emboldened them all to where they no longer thought that common decency applied to their kind, and they still don’t. They will never apologize, and because they won’t, the alumni will see them for who they are and a significant chunk of money will disappear, and a whole bunch of alumni won’t be sending their kids there. IIRC, about 3% of each class are children of alumni.

      As long as Raimondo is on campus, there will be a big red “toxic” beacon flashing on Tappan Square. And at the same time, the college is stuck with her throughout the appeals process.

      My speculation here is that the board will not act to fix things, and that a grassroots alumni movement will try to regain control of the college. This will devolve into a game of financial chicken. And we know how good anyone there is at backing down.

        B__2 in reply to MajorWood. | June 14, 2019 at 8:44 pm

        If they receive the amounts just awarded they can run the Gibson’s business just for the social pleasure they get out of the business instead of it having to be a profitable business they must rely on for their living. Then it might not matter if the university offers them no contracts forevermore, nor if no Oberlin university student or faculty member ever shops in their store again.

Let’s remember to thank the younger Allyn Gibson for his heroic courage in pursuing and detaining the shoplifter. Another day, another dollar.

Smack daddy!

Blaise MacLean | June 14, 2019 at 2:14 am

As I was thinking about this case, and Raimondo’s behaviour, a number of things occurred to me.

1. Obviously she is not chastened by this verdict. I am certain she is furious. But when I thought of why she is furious I think I realized why she claimed the Gibsons were not only racist but had a long history of racism. Look at her subjects… it’s all about intersectionality and grievance studies. So, she felt free to accuse the Gibsons of racism not merely because of the shoplifting but because they are white and by definition are privileged and racist. That, I believe, is why she couldn’t apologize and send a letter acknowledging the Gibsons are not racist. Her entire being is built on the conviction that they (and everyone like them) ARE racist.

2. Which leads me to the second point, the free speech contrivance. Raimondo said she was at the protest to protect the student’s free speech rights. But she got involved with her bullhorn and handing out libelous flyers. Then I remembered Melissa Click of Mizzou. She got into a piece of trouble for screaming at police during a student demonstration. Her justification was, as with Raimondo, that she had to protect the students.

I think these two are of a type. Activists, using students to create protests and disturbances and despite being there egging on the students, when caught out they contrive an excuse that they are only there to protect the students. They are dangerous, fanatical and liars. They do not change their ideology. And they have no place teaching our children.

Can Legal Insurrection post the names of the four generations of Gibson’s under the photos? So the students attacked Allyn Gibson, the elderly man?

    Silvertree in reply to Mercyneal. | June 14, 2019 at 7:35 am

    Yes, some outlets wrongly reported that the elderly man was the one beaten while detaining the shoplifter. Both he and his grandson share the name Allyn.

    Great-Grandfather: Allyn W. Gibson
    He was badly injured in a fall, when he got up to see why someone banged on his window in the middle of the night, sometime after the shoplifting protests. The person(s) then drove away, leaving him lying in the cold in the doorway of his home. Luckily he had a cell phone near to hand, but the pain was so extreme that it was some time before he could call. This is why he wears the neck brace even to this day.

    His son David:
    He was in the back of the store during the shoplifting incident, and had his fingers bent back by the shoplifter as the shoplifter was trying to escape.

    His Son Allyn:
    The younger Allyn pursued and detained the shoplifter, and was beaten by multiple students.

    His son Cashlyn:
    He is already working to learn the baker’s trade, and has been part of the family volunteer effort to support the business without pay during these long difficult months.

    Silvertree in reply to Mercyneal. | June 14, 2019 at 7:45 am

    So no, the elderly Mr. Gibson was not attacked by the students.

      Silvertree in reply to Silvertree. | June 14, 2019 at 12:52 pm

      Thank God, they might have killed him.

      TempeJeff in reply to Silvertree. | June 14, 2019 at 7:04 pm

      Why would someone else, randomly bang on his windows? I believe, some Students wanted to scare him and instigated the resulting fall.It’s not like intimidation was beneath their moral code.

        Silvertree in reply to TempeJeff. | June 15, 2019 at 3:09 am

        Yes, you are almost certainly correct. What I meant to say was: he was not actively beaten up by the students. But someone banged on his window at midnight, and likely that same person saw him lying there fallen in the doorway, and drove off without calling 911 or helping in any way.

About those legal fees, does that mean the Gibsons collect all $33m with the 1/3 share lawyers typically collect coming out of Oberlin’s pocket?

Did I read some where that the book value of Oberlin College is only something like $35,000?

OMG, I was wondering what the tattoo was on her. Looks like some cartoon fox of some type after I found it on this site:

No hold bar on this site. After reading this, it is a Jesse Smollet case. It is a lot worst then what LI told us. You guys were nice about it.

This burns me: “He of course played the “I’m an oppressed and marginalized person” card and got everyone at the school riled up that he was the victim here. According to his LinkedIn bio he attended Phillips Academy in Andover, a very expensive boarding school.”

Oberlin College’s most famous alumni is Lena Dunham.!!!

When you hire a woman who doesn’t understand that she looks like last call trash at the Blarney when she wears a sleeveless dress knowing that she has a full tat on your left bicep, this is what happens.

Oh, and if you’re gonna trash a locally owned business and might get sued because of it, you should probably make sure you don’t use your school email address:

When Roger Copeland, an Oberlin College professor of theater and dance (he is “emeritus” status now) wrote a letter to the campus newspaper soon after the protests ended, and criticized how the school was treating Gibson’s in the letter, Jones sent a text message in caps saying, “FUCK ROGER COPELAND.”

“Fuck him,” Raimondo responded in a message. “I’d say unleash the students if I wasn’t convinced this needs to be put behind us.”

    MarkSmith in reply to MarkSmith. | June 14, 2019 at 9:26 am

    FYI, tutleboy is a crazy site. Use it at your discretion. It is over the top. Content I posted seemed creditable. Linkedin source.

    Agree with a lot of things they he says, but don’t agree with his in your face approach.

    walls in reply to MarkSmith. | June 14, 2019 at 2:58 pm

    Oberlin’s classiest and smartest alum is Michelle Malkin.

Glenn Jordan | June 14, 2019 at 9:14 am

“Students can be great people or they can be bad, just like all of us can be, but they need guidance at that age, and they weren’t getting it when this all started.”
Well said, Grandpa Gibson. That’s what 90 years of hard work and good living gives you. That sentence contains a ton more wisdom than a student likely would gain in four years of immersion in what passes for liberal arts at many colleges today. Instead of encouraging young adults to step back and think rationally about a situation, many of us adults would rather enable emotional reactions so that we come across as peers rather than white- privelged authority figures. What a shame.

MaggotAtBroadAndWall | June 14, 2019 at 9:26 am

Thanks to Daniel McGraw, Bob Perkoski, Professor Jacobson and the rest of the Legal Insurrection team for the outstanding reporting and photos.

Get woke, go broke,
Delusions of the snowflakes melting,
Going up in smoke.

Steal a little wine,
If you’re black it’s fine,
‘Cause who you are don’t matter, just your skin!
Besides to take from those who make the dough
Is hardly sin. It’s all win-win—
They have, we take,
They bake, we break,
And when the day is done the verdict’s in:
Thanks a million, millions more!
Social justice winnings
In the final innings,
Privileges galore!

The dough is piling very high:
Watch it pile up to the sky,
Glory in the sight!
But 45 was right:
Next time you feel woke,
Skip the wine and buy a Coke.

    TempeJeff in reply to Silvertree. | June 14, 2019 at 7:16 pm

    Blues Traveler sang it well,

    There is something amiss
    I am being insincere
    In fact I don’t mean any of this
    Still my confession draws you near
    To confuse the issue I refer
    To familiar heroes from long ago
    No matter how much Peter loved her
    What made the Pan refuse to grow
    Was that the hook brings you back
    I ain’t tellin’ you no lie
    The hook brings you back
    On that you can rely

Dear Members of the Oberlin Community,

By now many of you will have heard about the latest development in the Gibson’s Bakery lawsuit, a jury’s declaration of punitive damages against Oberlin. Let me be absolutely clear: This is not the final outcome. This is, in fact, just one step along the way of what may turn out to be a lengthy and complex legal process. I want to assure you that none of this will sway us from our core values. It will not distract, deter, or materially harm our educational mission, for today’s students or for generations to come.

We will take the time we need to thoughtfully consider the course that is in Oberlin’s best interests. I will update the community as we make these decisions. I am confident that when we resolve this matter, it will look substantially different than it looks today.

We are disappointed in the jury’s decisions and the fragmentary and sometimes distorted public discussion of this case. But we respect the integrity of the jury, and we value our relationship with the town and region that are our home. We will learn from this lawsuit as we build a stronger relationship with our neighbors.

This has been a remarkable year for the college and conservatory. There is unprecedented unity around an ambitious new vision for Oberlin. The work of fulfilling that vision is already underway. Long after this lawsuit has receded from memory, that work will shape Oberlin’s future. I appreciate the contributions so many of you have made, your perspective at this important time, and the commitment you have shown to what matters most for Oberlin.


Carmen Twillie Ambar

(alumni mailing just in)

    Silvertree in reply to rhhardin. | June 14, 2019 at 12:13 pm

    An excerpt from my letter in response:

    “You will not ever, you will NEVER regain the respect of your neighbors until you apologize for smearing a good and honest family that has been a pillar of your community for more than a century….. Without such an apology, your efforts are futile. Futile! No, this lawsuit will not be soon forgotten. The arrogance and disdain shown by the College in their handling of this affair is now seared into Lorain County’s collective consciousness; these memories will live on in your community, passed down through generations. Your only hope is a full and contrite apology, IMMEDIATELY.

    If you do appeal this case, you will drive the last possibilities for reconciliation away. You now have one final chance to apologize, accept your losses and go home.

    But Oberlin College, it seems you are not sorry for the damage you have caused to these innocent people. You tried to destroy them, but that is OK in your world because of the color of their skin. Oberlin, you no longer uphold the progressive values of your founders; you have become racists of the worst sort. What matters to you most is a person’s skin color, not the content of their character. It is the color of the Gibsons’ skin that blinds you to who they really are.

    It seems you don’t care about these good neighbors of yours, Oberlin College, this kindly bakers family that has been your good neighbors for over a hundred years. They were willing to let this matter drop, if only you would tell the truth and clear their good name.

    If that’s how it is, if you as a college community care nothing for them, then go ahead: don’t apologize. Continue to destroy yourselves, for it seems you have completely lost your way, completely lost any sense of decency or integrity. Yes, if that’s how it is, it would be best that you completely go down in flames, so that from the ashes in some distant day can arise a new sense of humility and sacred purpose, to love your neighbors as yourselves.”

      Silvertree in reply to Silvertree. | June 14, 2019 at 12:43 pm

      And no I did not use all-caps for NEVER and IMMEDIATELY, I just settled for serene bold. A sense of delicacy must be preserved.

        Silvertree in reply to Silvertree. | June 14, 2019 at 1:01 pm

        I guess they are not racists of the WORST sort…. sorry, perhaps I was a little extreme there.
        But racists they are. This is all about the color of the Gibsons’ skin. If a black shopkeeper had done the same exact thing as Allyn Gibson did, and detained a black shoplifter, we would have heard nothing about this. Zero.

        That is the hidden secret in all of this, the Open Secret:


    Publius_2020 in reply to rhhardin. | June 14, 2019 at 3:30 pm

    Oberlin Lawyer to Jury: “This will harm future students”

    President to Alumni: “This will not harm future students”

    So, was Oberlin lying to the jury, or lying to the alumni?

Here in IL, where I’ve been practicing for 35+ years, we have a statutory interest rate on all appealed money judgments: 9% per annum. That’s right. The best investment/punishment imaginable. Not sure of OH’s rate, but here while Oberlin appealed this they would be racking up $2,970,000 or 1,980,000 in interest each year, depending on whether the judgment is 33m or 22m. Maybe the professor could enlighten us on the rate in OH.

So, appeal away motherf#ckers.

Oberlin Twitter page now says Tweets are now protected. Couldn’t take the heat, cowards!

Where in the heck did Oberlin’s general counsel learn any of her legal skills? That second letter is worse than the first–what is she talking about when she says fragmentary and distorted public discussion? The only distorted public discussion has come from Oberlin.

Defense attorney Rachelle Kuznicki argued:

“We cannot change the past, we can learn from it.”

“This will impact people who had nothing to do with the protest …, it also means less students who are not able to afford a college education will be able to do so.”

Cry me a river Rachelle……..

Oberlin College will appeal…
The Jury has been over zealous on this case,
Oberlin College should have the award reduced by 1 penny.

    Silvertree in reply to Extirpates. | June 14, 2019 at 1:12 pm

    Yes, one penny for each public apology they make to this very fine family they tried to destroy.
    They have three days, after that this special one-time offer ends.

Thank you LI, Dan McGraw and Bill Jacobson for your thorough coverage of this case – it is fascinating reading. In particular, I appreciate your cutting through the BS to present the unvarnished truth. Beyond the hubris and malice demonstrated by Oberlin and its administrators, I am struck by Oberlin’s sheer incompetence and ill-chosen defense strategies, ranging from playing the victim ( that Oberlin was merely protecting the student who allegedly was being assaulted, that it was the students, not Oberlin staff who orchestrated the smear campaign, and that the bakery was worthless (we now know that the bakery might be worth $33M+.) Additional justice will prevail when the inevitable house-cleaning occurs at Oberlin, as I cannot imagine the Trustees and Alumni will take this judgment as just business as usual.

Remember when Dean of Students were in charge of discipline and worked to ensure regulations, laws and civil order prevailed on and off campus? Now, apparently, they are mob leaders.

    MajorWood in reply to puhiawa. | June 15, 2019 at 12:36 am

    In my era it was Richard Dahl, and the common statement was “Dick Dahl before he Dicks you. Hey, it was the year of Animal House. Everyone needed a Dean Wermer.

Does anyone know how to turn off email notifications from these comments?

Thanks, lol.

PackerBronco | June 14, 2019 at 1:29 pm

“Defense attorney Rachelle Kuznicki argued:

“This … means LESS students who are not able to afford a college education will be able to do so.”

LESS? Should be FEWER. Must have gotten her degree from Oberlin College.

A friend of mine who specifically sent his daughter to Oberlin College so that she would get the best Liberal (not liberal arts) education possible said that the college has a $900 million endowment fund which earned over $67 million dollars last year thanks to Donald Trump’s economy. This settlement is just a drop in the bucket for Oberlin.

David R. Graham | June 14, 2019 at 2:15 pm

I look at this low life at Oberlin College and I think to myself: Self, you are looking at people who are not serious about what they are doing.

Here is a college, by reputation top-drawer, operating on habit alone. Their arguments in court — which in this case functions quite as a court of public opinion — are those of someone committed to doing what they are doing because they are doing it and not because it is worth doing.

No educator would make in court the arguments Oberlin makes. They would regard such a gesture as ignoble. Oberlin regards it as normative. If reports are accurate — and they have not been falsified — Oberlin’s zest for ignobility is normative at most contemporary American Colleges and Universities.

Why would a student submit himself or herself to cultivation by someone who does not deserve their presence? Why would a teacher accept for his or her cultivation someone who does not deserve their presence? It would not happen, not in either case, not in either direction.

Conclusion: be an auto-didact except in the case that a teacher invites you to their company, at which time and place, promptly accept the teacher’s invitation. You will know a teacher when one appears in your field of vision. Likewise, a teacher will know a student when appears in their field of vision. Sacred and therefore potent is the student-and-teacher relationship.

dhyambrisak | June 14, 2019 at 2:28 pm

Unconstitutionally vile: blatant utter malice! This shall be unreservedly, expeditiously expedited to The Supreme Court of Ohio & uptended without any disinclination & rebuked! The Audacity ???? #UnethicallyUnprepossessing

If Meredith Raimondo gets fired, don’t worry she won’t be lonely. I hear Melissa Click is looking for a roommate.

How much do you want to bet that like Al Sharpton, they will never pay this judgment?

title says
capped at $22 million by law
story still says
jury awarded a total of $33 million in punitive damages, which will probably be reduced by the court to $22 million because of the state law cap at twice compensatory (it’s not an absolute cap, but probably will apply here).

should title say POSSIBLE capped?

    Publius_2020 in reply to dmacleo. | June 15, 2019 at 5:57 pm

    I spent 20 minutes today looking at this question. The Cap Statute contains an exception clause that reads:

    “this section does not apply to a tort action
    where the alleged injury, death, or loss to person or property resulted from the defendant acting with one or more of the culpable mental states of purposely and knowingly as described in section 2901.22 of the Revised Code
    when the defendant has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to a criminal offense that is a felony, that had as an element of the offense one or more of the culpable mental states of purposely and knowingly as described in that section, and that is the basis of the tort action.”

    The assumption that the Cap applies is based on interpreting the exception clause to ONLY apply in instances wehre there is a felony conviction of the defendant. That, in turn, requires the “and” in the middle of clause to be interpreted conjunctively and not disjunctively. In other words, if the exception is interpreted to mean “does not apply when (A) and (B) are both true.” This is probably the more common and natural interpretation of statutes, which usually use the disjunctive “OR” to indicate two separate conditions.

    That interpretation is not always correct however. The use of the separate “when” in the ‘felony’ condition introduces ambiguity because “when” can also serve as a conjunction. Example: “the college will inspect your dorm room when you move in and when you move out.” No one would interpret that to mean that inspections will occur only when you simultaneously move in AND move out. The use of “when” creates a disjunctive sentence.

    Here, the disjunctive construction is further supported by the fact that the “purposely” condition in the first clause would be rendered redundant by the ‘felony’ clause in a conjunctive interpretation, because the second clause explicitly requires that the defendant act “purposely” and that this action be the basis for the tort.

    There are no Ohio cases that I could find that rule on this issue. There is literally only one case that even addresses the exception in a meaningful way, and its comments are not binding because there were no punitive damages in that case.

Nothing profound to say other than this whole story is just too delicious – on so many levels.

Mostly want to help push the comment count past 300. It doesn’t take much to entertain me.

I just saw Prof. Jacobson on Tucker.

Sent an email congratulating Gibson on their victory over evil and got reply. My email is after the reply.


Thank you for your email, and your kind words.

It has been a tumultuous two years, and we still have a journey to complete.

The jury may have delivered its verdict, but the court case is not
completely over.

Once justice has been served and the court case concluded, a community needs
our help to be restored, and our business needs to be rebuilt.

But the knowledge that we have people like you on our side, is reassuring
and comforting.

Thanks again for taking time to put the Gibson family and Bakery in your

Take Care

Web Master

Visit us at

—–Original Message—–
From: Conrad Dost
Sent: Thursday, June 13, 2019 8:38 PM
To: [email protected]
Subject: Congratulations


You stood up for the rule of law and against the evil progressive fascists
and won.

Thank God
Conrad Dost

Sent from my iPhone

Ohio Historian | June 17, 2019 at 6:33 am

First, this is a great article. While an OH resident in Central OH, this is the only reporting of this case I have seen.

I don’t know if LI reads their comments, but thought I would post this for the article author. You have an inconsistency in the article. You state before (correctly) that punitive damages are usually capped at twice the actual damages. Then you make this statement in the body of the report.

“could be no more than $22.4 million, HALF OF the compensatory damages laid on Oberlin College and far less than the $33 million waylaid on the school today by the jury.”

“Prufreding” must have slipped.