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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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    Quelquefois nous perdons, quelquefois nous gagnons. Aujourd’hui, nous gagnons.

    [hope I remembered my HS French correctly ….]

      alaskabob in reply to walls. | June 13, 2019 at 4:38 pm

      Another superb coverage of an important case. Kudos to LI… again.. and … again.. and again.

      Unfortunately, we have not seen the end of turmoil surrounding this case. Gibsons will continue to be a flash point for true “hate speech” from the Left. They hate losing and will spin and spin this. Their individual safety is still problematic. The future of the business will very clouded. The Left will work to close them out but if they do, it is still another blemish on OC. This battle in the ongoing war was “won” but this is a war without end.

        notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to alaskabob. | June 13, 2019 at 5:09 pm

        These SJW(? really) Snowflakes are treated just like mushrooms in the mushroom farm.

        So you are right, this is not the end of the Snowflakes and their Democrat Party Owned College Administration Slaves.

        Here’s the perfect example of the shi…er….stuff fed to the “mushrooms” in the mushroom farm dark house.

        Amazon’s Alexa is a CRAZY SJW LIBERAL! | Louder With Crowder

        MUST SEE!

        alaskabob in reply to alaskabob. | June 13, 2019 at 5:51 pm

        Oh dear me…. how could I be so hasty as there will be appeals and LI will be there! It just keeps getting better!

      I’m sure the attorneys for Nick Sandmann have been watching with great interest.

        JusticeDelivered in reply to Andy. | June 13, 2019 at 7:47 pm

        Have we reached the threshold where social injustice warriors and ghetto lottery schemers are finally going to be personally held accountable? I hope that this is the start of these people receiving all they deserve.

    puhiawa in reply to Pasadena Phil. | June 13, 2019 at 4:40 pm

    Yokels 1, Elite 0

      great unknown in reply to puhiawa. | June 13, 2019 at 4:46 pm

      You got it backwards, but that’s ok, the “elite” also have it backwards.

      It’s been that way since the British tried to mock the Americans in the Revolutionary War with “Yankee Doodle Dandy”.

      fscarn in reply to puhiawa. | June 13, 2019 at 5:11 pm

      Thanks for the photo of Meredith Raimondo. I’ve been having trouble in the back yard from skunks and opossums. Putting a copy of that pic in the garden area should end my troubles.

        persecutor in reply to fscarn. | June 13, 2019 at 5:37 pm

        After this verdict, I think that heifer is going to be having mucho salad instead of high calorie feed lot grub……because if no insurance money is going to cover her actions, then the unemployment line is all she’ll have left–no school will hire her and her mouth.

          LeftWingLock in reply to persecutor. | June 13, 2019 at 6:09 pm

          Firing her would be an admission that Oberlin was wrong and Gibsons was right. They will never do that. The worst that will happen is she gets a sudden yearning to return to teaching and she gets a Chair position and a modest raise.

        C. Lashown in reply to fscarn. | June 13, 2019 at 5:53 pm

        LOOK at the size of that land whale! Her jacket has gaps showing across the midsection. By all appearances she’s eaten much more than her fair share of skunks and possums! She offsets her dietary issues with the delicate pink of her sweater under the jacket though.

        JusticeDelivered in reply to fscarn. | June 13, 2019 at 7:51 pm

        She is hideous, inside and out.

    notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to Pasadena Phil. | June 13, 2019 at 6:53 pm

    La revanche est un plat qui se mange froid…..

Oh my! Love it.

counsel4pay | June 13, 2019 at 3:26 pm

We rejoice with Plaintiffs, their legal team, the Court staff, and, THE JURY for the successful completion of a lengthy trial which involved issues of national importance. The jurors, men and women of the community in question, were carefully examined by ALL PARTIES, and accepted as capable and willing to rendering impartial verdicts using only the law and facts allowed by a dedicated trial judge, have recognized the full nature and extent of the Plaintiffs’ injuries and made a just award.

The Plaintiffs’ triumph was due, from the start, to the family’s honor and service to the residents of Ohio (and lucky visitors from afar) for more than 100 years. However, given the UNENDING hostility and deceitful attacks by Oberlin college and a wicked EneMedia, Plaintiffs’ triumph is also due to Divine support. “With God, all things [were] possible.” We pray in gratitude for such support:

When the trumpet sounds the victory
When the battle has been won
When the enemies of honor
Have been shamed for wrongs they’ve done
Pause to thank the Lord Almighty
Bow your head and bend your knees
For our Savior’s grace from Heaven
Was the power that set you free

Our prayers and good wishes will not end. Nor will our FAITH that Plaintiffs’ will successfully defend the jury’s verdicts on appeal(s). I commend our reporter and our host for their labors to support this noble family. It has been an honor to join with innumerable believers and well wishers who were heard by Heaven. I am content. Adieu

    Merlin01 in reply to counsel4pay. | June 13, 2019 at 5:05 pm

    I am praising the Defense for being just as woke and stupid as Oberlin College. Great job!!!

    Brave Sir Robbin in reply to counsel4pay. | June 13, 2019 at 8:20 pm

    This is a great day for the Gibson family, and a bad day for Social Justice Fascists. We can rejoice. However, this is not over.

    First, the Oberlin errors and omission insurance providers will not pay off any amount to either Oberlin of Dean Raimondo as they have all be found to have acted in malice. It is not legal to insure acts of malice in Ohio. So she will be bankrupted and whatever portion of the awards are due from her will not be paid.

    I also assume Oberlin and Raimondo will appeal. I see three potential points of attack, those being: the compensatory judgment was excessive and therefore the punitive awards are also excessive by the same measure; the judge erred in allowing the jury to consider a finding of malice as the evidence was insufficient to meet the legal threshold of malice; and the judge erred in not allowing a move in venue as the local community is obviously biased and hostile towards the defendant.

    I do not think an appeal will be successful, but it will delay payment to the Gibson family.

    Also, if the Gibson’s attorney was on retainer, say 30% or 40%, the judge will not award that amount in fees because the judgement was so large. He will rather find out how much time the attorney and his team actually spent on the trial and multiply that by their going hourly rates. This will greatly reduce what the defendant must pay for legal fees, but the Gibson family will still be liable for the entirety of whatever arrangement they made with their attorney, who deserves the rich compensation in my mind.

    So this will crawl on for a couple more years as if fades from our view and memory.

    Enjoy the day, though, unless you are Dean Raimondo, that is.

caseoftheblues | June 13, 2019 at 3:26 pm


Somebody better put Raimondo on suicide watch.

That’s going to leave a mark.

caseoftheblues | June 13, 2019 at 3:27 pm

My comment was hands clapping….not ?
Anyway… Bravo

Hey, Oberlin snowflakes, as Vinny Barbarino said, “Up your nose with a rubber hose!”


What about their parking validation? Do they now have to pay for today?

well, *that* didn’t take long…

Oberlin’s gonna need to put some ice on that. 😎

I can hardly wait to see Oberlin’s president¡’s response to this!
To the jury—a job well, and fairly, done!

Let the progressive butt-hurt begin.

looks like someone blew that margins on this page…

(lucky margins)

Thank you, jurors! The next time a college endorses the false accusations by its students against good people, there will be a precedent. One for our team!

Go “woke,” go broke,
“Social Justice” thuggery up in smoke,
Student goons and chaperones think themselves so stoked,
But, the jury said, “nope,
Your morals are broke.”

    Another Voice in reply to guyjones. | June 13, 2019 at 5:23 pm

    I believe you just won “First Place” on completing the
    “Go Woke” challenge

      Silvertree in reply to Another Voice. | June 14, 2019 at 9:35 am

      Still fighting for my participation trophy……

      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.

re: Defense attorney Rachelle Kuznicki argued:

“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.

Umm…that should be “…FEWER students who are not able…” Sheesh!

goddessoftheclassroom | June 13, 2019 at 3:39 pm

I am especially pleased that attorneys’ fees have been awarded ON TOP OF the max punitive damages!

Well, good thing the jury never gets to see Oberlin’s alumni nastygram, or there might be real trouble.

stevewhitemd | June 13, 2019 at 3:43 pm

This case was so egregious that if the verdict had come in differently, or if the damages had been a trifle, the world would have been around the country, very quickly, that colleges (and other powerful folk) can wreck the lives of ordinary people with impunity.

Now perhaps the powerful will understand that they can’t.

The next one is the case of the young man and the media in Covington, Kentucky. That’s the one that has to go all the way to trial with a verdict and substantial damages. Then the media and academia will understand what they can’t do.

    walls in reply to stevewhitemd. | June 13, 2019 at 3:52 pm

    Exactly …. the takedown of CNN. Bring it on!

    nomadic100 in reply to stevewhitemd. | June 13, 2019 at 5:12 pm

    CNN and WaPo will try to move heaven and earth to get the trial out of the Covington area. I’m sure the people at Oberlin are thinking, “If only our motion to get the venue changed to Cleveland had succeeded!”

“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.”

Perhaps, the jury misunderstood the cap on the damages to twice in addition to the compensatory damages as opposed to the number they chose.

Yet, it is also likely that perhaps they did NOT misunderstand and they are sending a message to the judge.

The judge gets to determine the total amount of lawyer’s fees to be awarded. One suspects that will be the maximum allowed also.

    Rachel in reply to Dr P. | June 13, 2019 at 4:22 pm

    There is usually a separate hearing before the judge to determine legal fees. The judge determines whether the hourly rates that the attorneys charged were reasonable by comparing them to the fees usually charged by lawyers in the same state or city and whether the number of hours spent was reasonable as well.
    The judge also takes into consideration the experience of the attorneys and the complexity of the issues in the case; the more complex the case, the more hours are justified, and the more experienced the attorney, the higher the hourly rate that he or she should be entitled to charge.

GeorgeCrosley | June 13, 2019 at 3:46 pm

I know you posted the photo of the hideous Raimondo just to rub salt in the wound. I commend you for it.

goddessoftheclassroom | June 13, 2019 at 3:47 pm

At the risk of being pedantic, is it “attorney’s fees” or “attorneys’ fees”? In other words, did the jury award the fees of ONE of the Gibson’s attorneys or both (were there more than two?)?

    Hopefully and thankfully, it’s probably all of the attorneys’ fees.

    Legal fees would be awarded to all individual attorneys or law firms which entered appearances with the court representing the plaintiffs in the case.

    Publius_2020 in reply to goddessoftheclassroom. | June 13, 2019 at 5:05 pm

    The calculation is typically done based on the reasonable value of the services rendered, without regard specifically to how many attorneys (or law firms) performed the work. The computation is a little unusual in contingent fee cases, but the typical practice is to submit an application that seeks to justify an award based on the number of hours expended using a market-based rate, and then for the counsel to seek a multiplier based on the risk of loss inherent in a contingent fee representation.

It may not be good science, but here’s a chance to watch snowflakes boil. Might lead to global warming or something.

Defense attorney Rachelle Kuznicki argued:

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

Liberals? Surely you jest!

This is a potential learning experience for Social Justice Warriors. They could learn that warfare often involves casualties and pain.

I hope each and every Oberlin student sees a 10,000 tuition hike. I hope the Court makes Oberlin post bond for its appeal. (Since the insurance companies are likely to deny the claims).

Well, if a career in Higher Ed doesn’t work out, Raimondo probably can easily win any casting call for an ogress role.

    Anchovy in reply to guyjones. | June 13, 2019 at 4:11 pm

    Oh, I can see her in a very official uniform during a Kamala Harris presidency holding loyalty trials for normals in Nebraska.

    mbecker908 in reply to guyjones. | June 13, 2019 at 6:11 pm

    She’ll probably replace Janet Napolitano at the University of California. Perfect fit.

Albigensian | June 13, 2019 at 3:55 pm

“it also means less students who are not able to afford a college education will be able to do so.” –> You need a clue. No one needs to obtain an education (or “education”) from Oberlin.

Students (and prospective students) are not hostages. There are plenty of alternatives to Oberlin.

David Warlow | June 13, 2019 at 3:57 pm

SOCIAL JUSTICE -> Meet my friend, REAL JUSTICE, American-style. Refreshing to see real justice actually work. Gibson’s won’t get the money anytime soon due to appeals, so order something from their bakery on-line and write a positive comment on your order.

I witnessed some of the trial and shook Mr. Gibson’s hand and told him that he is a man of great courage and a great American. It was worth the trip!

ReddeCaesari | June 13, 2019 at 4:01 pm

Bob Perkoski, photojournalist, to be awarded Silver Star for engaging the enemy and snapping a candid of Ms. Raimando.

David, thank you for the recommendation. The optics of Oberlin College delaying the award by filing appeals would be the final nails in the coffin of that institution. This case was so agregious, such a travesty. What Court of Appeals would touch this verdict?

Great job, Professor , and great op-ed in Wall Street Journal this week.

LukeHandCool | June 13, 2019 at 4:06 pm

Yummy sweet justice!

Couldn’t happen to a more deserving college.

Hopefully, this will be “chump change” compared to what Nick Sandmann gets from CNN and the WAPO.

    great unknown in reply to bw222. | June 13, 2019 at 4:52 pm

    Good connection. I suspect the MSM attorneys are sweating over this decision very carefully.

Feel good story of the day! I’m so happy! Thank you jurors!

theduchessofkitty | June 13, 2019 at 4:08 pm

Pay up, snowflakes! Pay up!

SJW America fought against Real Life America… and Real Life America won. It’s time to pay up!

I’m sure Oberlin will appeal; it practically has no choice given the outcome, but it will be an uphill battle. It also could end up having to pay the Gibsons’ legal fees for the appeal if it loses (However, I’m not up on Ohio law, so I’m not sure if that’s the case there). Anyway, the Gibsons are unlikely to see any money for quite some time.

She should have said “fewer students”, not “less”. I’m guessing they could get a better education for less money elsewhere.

smalltownoklahoman | June 13, 2019 at 4:13 pm

GET WOKE GO BROKE IN SPADES!! Massive win for the Gibsons and a huge wake up call for colleges and universities across the country against engaging in this sort of behavior!

JuliaV, the judge will probably require Oberlin to post a bond during the appeals process if they decide to appeal. They are much better of paying up now. Their alumni are furious at them. If they appeal, they will infuriate every donor and it will end that institution, imo.

    Rachel in reply to Virginia. | June 13, 2019 at 4:26 pm

    That would depend on state law on appellate procedure. Many states require appellants to post bonds (for obvious reasons), but others don’t. I don’t know what Ohio law is on the subject.

      great unknown in reply to Rachel. | June 13, 2019 at 5:12 pm

      IIRC under Ohio law a bond has to be posted before appeal sufficient to cover the entire award, fees, etc. but not to exceed 50 million. So, this is covered.

    Silvertree in reply to Virginia. | June 13, 2019 at 10:40 pm

    May I ask how you know the alums are furious? As an alum I would like to join with others who feel this way. Is there an online gathering place to discuss this? I have written a letter to Ms. Vargas and to the Oberlin Review, but my voice would be stronger joined with others.

The big question. can the judge award legal fees?

    Terence G. Gain in reply to RodFC. | June 13, 2019 at 4:27 pm

    I think it’s clear that he can. He should award costs on a full indemnity basis. Congratulations to Gibson’s and Lee Plaskas. My prediction was that the jury would award 20 million in punitive damages. I am delighted it exceeded my expectations.

    IIRC he ruled like two days ago that the jury would determine whether attorney fees are granted, and the judge is now to determine the exact amount to be granted.

Justice to remedy social justice.

Christmas in June. Love it. Who’s next?

Nice work, Ms. Raimondo. You’ve cost your institution 33 million dollars — not counting attorney fees.

    nomadic100 in reply to CorkyAgain. | June 13, 2019 at 5:03 pm

    Raimondo may turn out to be the scapegoat, and she bears much of the responsibility for representing Oberlin in fomenting the actual damaging behavior of the students, but, really, this verdict is an indictment of Oberlin as an institution – the trustees must be beside themselves! The previous president who was in the job when these events occurred left Oberlin (voluntarily?) and now is the president of Pace University, an institution with a far lesser (not “fewer”) reputation than Oberlin (at least up to now) and with but 20% of Oberlin’s endowment.

      alaskabob in reply to nomadic100. | June 13, 2019 at 6:20 pm

      The dean was only part of it. There is a significant paper trail that all of admin was in on this. The real world does not have their fake safe spaces and pre-determined outcomes. This detachment from reality… the world outside their bubble must be a shock as their bubble burst. It takes a lot to burst the bubbles as David Horowitz can attest. It is a “red pill” moment but as with the character in Matrix 1, they may want back into the bubble quickly.

I wonder who advised Oberlin to go to trial rather than settle out of court. I suspect Gibson’s would have settled for much less than $33M.

    c0cac0la in reply to bawatkins. | June 13, 2019 at 4:50 pm

    Any type of settlement would’ve required the college to admit wrong doing as the entire case was about defamation. Doubt the Gibson’s would’ve accepted a settlement without a public apology. So since Leftists always double-down that was probably not a viable option.

    Massinsanity in reply to bawatkins. | June 13, 2019 at 5:58 pm

    They could have and should have settled but they couldn’t stand up to their students.

    How pathetic is that?

      artichoke in reply to Massinsanity. | June 13, 2019 at 7:57 pm

      I think also, they shared the students’ view. People who are like that as students don’t often change; they become similar adults.

I have a feeling the plaintiffs didn’t need to get the blast email into the proceeding. The world is not a vacuum. This was a big case in a small town. They knew. At some point you would think the left would realize how counter productive calling people stupid is, when you need them.

I seriously hope no students get any ideas about trashing the store or anything. This seems like just the kind of thing Antifa could rally around.

Don’t know which appeals court that will go to.

JohnC, the students are gone for the summer.

Ha! Great outcome… interesting case that could have been avoided if this college had anyone “in charge” with common sense… couldda wouldda shouldda…

TAKE NOTE ‘sjws’

    rabidfox in reply to LisaGinNZ. | June 13, 2019 at 4:45 pm

    A good first step would be to recognize that shop-lifting is a crime regardless of your skin color.

      OnTheLeftCoast in reply to rabidfox. | June 13, 2019 at 4:54 pm

      Apparently the Oberlin position is that it’s an essential part of Black culture to shoplift, so it’s racist for a merchant to object.

Cool beans. With that kind of award, and in keeping with the defendants estimated value of Gibson’s, Gibson’s could by another 916 bakeries. And I hope they located them next door to every “Libtard U” in the US.

“Help fight Social Justice Warfare. Buy a donut.”

Terence G. Gain | June 13, 2019 at 4:37 pm

An American Jury delivers justice in a case of vicious defamation by Social Justice Warriors egged on by a Dean of Students who acted like a child.

Oberlin declared war on the its host community. Unbelievably stupid.

I am pleased and relieved to have this verdict in. When a case goes to a jury, one never knows the outcome, but I suspect the excellent reporting at this site made it easier to predict the outcome. Oberlin’s attorneys were right about one thing: the rest of the country, including its colleges, are watching.

The troll in me wishes they had hit them with a judgement of $22,035,000.

    great unknown in reply to Olinser. | June 13, 2019 at 4:56 pm

    My pedantic streak compels me to point out that the 35K should have been tacked on to the compensatory damages. Which of course would be triple in the punitive.

    artichoke in reply to Olinser. | June 13, 2019 at 8:00 pm

    No, it’s much bettr now. The total award will be around $35,000,000.oo .

    Million, not thousand.

VaGentleman | June 13, 2019 at 4:48 pm

Schadenfreude, darling Schadenfreude.
Hoping that you’re soon unemployed-a.
You stuck your nose where it shouldn’t be,
The jury now fills my heart with glee.

Schadenfreude, darling Schadenfreude.
With yourself you should be annoyed-a.
The kids were wrong, as any fool could see.
Hubristically, foolishly, you excused their felony.

Schadenfreude, darling Schadenfreude.
Your cred-i-bility’s destroyed-a.
Tried your case, came in second place,
Karma sucks, costs you bucks,
it’s only fair, now pay your share.

Schadenfreude, darling Schadenfreude.
Deplorables you thought paranoid-a.
Show no sympathy for fools such as thee,
You robbed them blind, you didn’t mind,
now they paid you back in kind.

Schadenfreude, darling Schadenfreude.
Your accounts soon will have a void-a.
Your attorney tried a Hail Mary pass, but alas,
Jury reamed your ass, with broken glass,
they had class, you get no pass.

Very nice, Gentleman

Colonel Travis | June 13, 2019 at 4:50 pm

Thank dear God in heaven there are normal people still out there in America.

Thank you for reporting on this story. Wonderful work.

OnTheLeftCoast | June 13, 2019 at 4:52 pm

The Oberlin student newspaper is offline, but hints on the web suggest that the students are easily upset about corporate greed. You know, the kind where a corporation tries to evade liability for wrongdoing on the grounds that it has many years of existence to its members, or its loyal customers wouldn’t like it, or its employees might have to take pay cuts or even lose their jobs.

DouglasJBender | June 13, 2019 at 4:54 pm


I assume that appeals will drag on for years. Is interest accumulating on the likely $33 million total award?

    Brave Sir Robbin in reply to SHV. | June 13, 2019 at 8:37 pm

    Yes, at around 4% per year. It likely does not compound. But 4% of $33 million is not chump change. An appeal will be quite pricey and has a low probability of success. If they were intelligent, which is contrary to observation, they will threaten appeal to try and get some relief via settlement. Their carrot will be a timely payout to the Gibson family and perhaps a change to a heartfelt issuance of a public apology from their current up yours stance in exchange for some reduction in payment.

    JusticeDelivered in reply to SHV. | June 13, 2019 at 8:49 pm

    Yes, I believe will be about 1,5 million a year, compounded.

To colleges everywhere: If your darling little students commit a crime against the locals, you should apologize to the crime victims and place the students on probation. That will show your students that you expect decent behavior from them, and it will show the locals that you don’t expect your students to get special treatment.

    Valerie in reply to OldProf2. | June 13, 2019 at 5:49 pm

    Or, they could at least refrain from assuming that the whole incident was about skin color. Oberlin showed itself to be racist.

    Silvertree in reply to OldProf2. | June 13, 2019 at 11:14 pm

    Sorry Old Prof, I accidentally hit the red downvote in trying to reply!
    So I will say this: that thumbs down is for the criminals, even if it’s “just” petty theft. They should be automatically expelled upon conviction. Perhaps that might be a deterrent to those Obies with itchy fingers. It would appear there are many such students, judging from the shoplifting losses in that town. And how the numbers radically diminish during summer break…..

great unknown | June 13, 2019 at 5:02 pm

If Oberlin truly cannot pay this award,as they claim, then I suggest that in lieu of payment, they deed the college to the Gibsons, who will operate it much more efficiently than the current management.

Yeah. Yankee Doodle (Dandy) – Death Metal Cover.

And the fundraising emails go out to alumni in 4..3…2….1… Hey, they’ll probably want to hire outside counsel for the appeal, since their in-house attorney didn’t do such a hot job for them during the trial.

On what grounds would they appeal? That they didnt like the result??

    healthguyfsu in reply to mailman. | June 13, 2019 at 5:36 pm

    Likely they will try to use some of the denied motions….for example, file for change of venue was denied.

    Valerie in reply to mailman. | June 13, 2019 at 5:47 pm

    They will appeal the size of the verdict, on the grounds that it is too big. They will argue that the 2x cap applies.

So, not an unexpected outcome. It was evident from the very beginning that the college was actively supporting the student “protests” through both direction and material aid. After that, it became impossible for the college to divorce itself from the students’ activities.

“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.”

Was Oberlin college thinking about the employees of Gibsons, the ones who had nothing to do with the events of that night of alleged profiling when they organized against the tiny bakery? Did Oberlin care about the children of those employees? Does Oberlin still rail against the ‘privilege’ of the white plaintiffs?

IMHO, ‘privilege’ is when you can send your kid to a school that charges $71k for tuition, room, and board per year.

Well, Oberlin got the fire and brimstone they wished for, just not in the manner they expected.

Congratulations to the Gibsons family and their very fine legal team

I’m off now to order my Gibsons t-shirt and maybe some butter cookies. In fact, maybe I’ll mail the Oberlin administrators some butter cookies–they could probably do with some cheering up about now.

    JusticeDelivered in reply to rochf. | June 13, 2019 at 8:56 pm

    I suggest that people send them cheap dollar store personal lube, be sure to add a dab of Bengay to each tube.

MarktheMagnificent | June 13, 2019 at 5:10 pm

LOL! Get fucked!

TwoCentsWorth | June 13, 2019 at 5:13 pm

It will prove interesting to see the responses from Vice President, General Counsel & Secretary, Donica Thomas Varner and Vice President of Communications Ben “[email protected]#$ Them” Jones. If Donica could not think straight and have any resemblance of composure after the 11.2 million hit, imagine how she will react now.

To Ben Jones I say… Remember your quote of “[email protected]#$ Them, They made their own bed.” Do not whine, complain or protest the results of the hearings, Oberlin College, Administration and students made their own bed.

VaGentleman | June 13, 2019 at 5:13 pm

I would love to go to Gibson’s in the morning and order a dozen Victory Rolls!

I wonder if student handbooks in the fall will caution the snowflakes about the consequences of their actions. And will admins caution activist profs et al about the consequences of their actions?

Does this tell us anything about the nation’s mood going into 2020?

    Silvertree in reply to VaGentleman. | June 13, 2019 at 11:32 pm

    They’ve already instituted a mandatory program for incoming students about how to be a good citizen and neighbor in Oberlin. This includes a talk by the Oberln chief of police. A great step in the right direction.

Don’t you think Oberlin could sell the college for at least $35,000?

Question about attorney’s fees — was Gibson’s representation on a contingency fee basis? If so, how does that align with the awarding of attorney’s fees? A typical contingency fee is 33% of any damages award won, right? So, does the Court make Oberlin pay one-third of the award, or, a different sum, based on local attorneys’ average hourly rate and total hours billed, or some such standard?

    Publius_2020 in reply to guyjones. | June 13, 2019 at 5:34 pm

    The court first determines a number that is based on the reasonable amount of time spent multiplied by a “market” rate, which results in what is called the “lodestar” figure. This is independent of whether the case is on a contingency (and even whether the lawyer is being paid; because pro bono lawyers can recover fees, too).

    Then the court adjusts the lodestar figure based on a series of factors, which include whether the case was contingent. Typically, the lodestar figure is increased materially in a contingent case because of the risk of total loss.

Blaise MacLean | June 13, 2019 at 5:18 pm

This is more important, in my opinion than the compensatory damages verdict. Not because of the amount but because of the message it sends.

Oberlin College, as I understand it, is the largest business in town. Many local people must be employed there. And the town is completely furious with the College, its condescension, its arrogance and its sense of superiority.

The jury is made up of ordinary folks. Regular people. They represent the community and the common sense of ordinary people.

Who knows what will happen on appeal because, in the big picture, that doesn’t matter. The jury made its decision, I am certain, not on technical points of the law but on what they saw before them. Every case is about a story, and this story offended them.

The College needs to get this through its thick,privileged, entitled, “woke” head. They are in the town but they are not of the town. And the town of which they they think themselves the “Lords of the Manor” is infuriated with them. This punitive damages award is, figuratively, the torches and pitchforks. To that message the appeal is irrelevant. The message has been sent. The only question now is whether the College has received it.

    Virginia in reply to Blaise MacLean. | June 13, 2019 at 5:37 pm

    If the college is an important part of the town’s economy (as all colleges are), I can see where the Gibson Family would consider a compromise. They do not appear to be vindictive or vengeful people. Nobody benefits from Oberlin going broke. Other small businesses in town would benefit from some kind of agreement to sidestep an appeal. Still, Oberlin should pay the full amount awarded, as the Gibson Family deserves compensation for what they endured.

      walls in reply to Virginia. | June 13, 2019 at 6:09 pm

      The Gibson’s need to adopt the motto of The Cornell Review …. “We Do Not Apologize”. They should keep EVERY penny.

      Socratease in reply to Virginia. | June 13, 2019 at 6:44 pm

      There will be a sizable college contingent who will want to go to war with the town rather than reconcile. I’m not betting on which way Oberlin will go.

      artichoke in reply to Virginia. | June 13, 2019 at 8:19 pm

      Any compromise will be seen as weakness. Despite Mr. Gibson’s desire to keep the doors open, I doubt there’s any getting past this. The award gives them enough to reopen in another town if they want to stay in that sort of business.

    Marshal8 in reply to Blaise MacLean. | June 13, 2019 at 6:31 pm

    “Who knows what will happen on appeal because, in the big picture, that doesn’t matter.”

    What happens on appeal is critical. If the award is overturned the school (and others) will conclude courts will continue to protect them and they can return to their behavior without modification.

Publius_2020 | June 13, 2019 at 5:19 pm

The suggestion that the Ohio cap on punitives is likely to apply might need to be revisited.

The cap has an exception for cases where the facts demonstrate conduct that was purposeful or knowing, as defined in a special Ohio statute. That statute says:

(A) A person acts purposely when it is the person’s specific intention to cause a certain result, or, when the gist of the offense is a prohibition against conduct of a certain nature, regardless of what the offender intends to accomplish thereby, it is the offender’s specific intention to engage in conduct of that nature.

(B) A person acts knowingly, regardless of purpose, when the person is aware that the person’s conduct will probably cause a certain result or will probably be of a certain nature. A person has knowledge of circumstances when the person is aware that such circumstances probably exist. When knowledge of the existence of a particular fact is an element of an offense, such knowledge is established if a person subjectively believes that there is a high probability of its existence and fails to make inquiry or acts with a conscious purpose to avoid learning the fact.

The intentional interference claim strikes me as falling easily inside this exception, because it facially requires that the defendant “purposely” act to cause the result of disrupting the business relationship. That should cover the bakery damages.

The libel damages are trickier, but I think is susceptible to the same analysis. Given the figures, you can bet that the Gibsons’ lawyer will fight this out.

This has me optimistic for the Covington High students in their endeavors against CNN and the Washington Post

These verdicts have both been really fast – I don’t think much more than a day for either one. I I think that means the jury thought the case was pretty easy and egregious.

I am so thrilled and relieved that justice has been done.

PonyBobHaslam | June 13, 2019 at 5:37 pm

Sic semper tyrannis!

Ohio Law 2315.21 F says:
(F) If the trier of fact is a jury, the court shall not instruct the jury with respect to the limits on punitive or exemplary damages pursuant to division (D) of this section, and neither counsel for any party or a witness shall inform the jury or potential jurors of those limits.

socialism_sucks | June 13, 2019 at 5:58 pm

Bravo! Good job, LI!

    Massinsanity in reply to socialism_sucks. | June 13, 2019 at 6:07 pm

    Indeed, many thanks to Professor Jacobson, all the staff at LI and the LIF for their in depth coverage of this vitally important case.

    Hopefully, the scale of the smackdown Oberlin received will pull this story further into the mainstream.

It probably won’t matter anyway, since Oberlin is surely a non-profit, but lawsuits like this aren’t tax deductible.

I’m wondering… Are the Lawyers’ contingency fees calculated off of the $11M, $33M or the $44M? Could the jury have awarded the extra 11M punitive damages to run up the costs against Oberlin in the only way left to them after the 2X cap?

Comanche Voter | June 13, 2019 at 6:12 pm

You come in arrogant like Oberlin—that piddling little business that supported a family for five generations–pshaw not worth more than $35K and we did nothing wrong, nothing at all.

Well that’s the gown–in a town largely filled with deplorables. Rub them the wrong way (as happened here) and they are going to tee your sack up good—and smack the bejabbers out of it with a five iron. Or maybe they were using a “fair way” wood! Jack Nicklaus, the Golden Bear from Ohio, couldn’t have driven that ball any further than this jury did. And they still wanted to go further yet.

I’m not certain the business was worth several million dollars–but I’d bet you could find a reasonable expert who’d urge for a value of at least two million. But you also have individuals whose reputations have been smeared. And it’s hard to put a value on those personal reputations. Clearly the plaintiff’s lawyers persuaded the jury that the total loss was $11 million or thereabouts.

Does an award of attorneys’ fees include fees for work responding to the appeals?

    Publius_2020 in reply to clintack. | June 13, 2019 at 6:55 pm

    Generally, yes. Although there is some discretion. The baseline rule is that a party entitled to fees in the trial court is entitled to fees in the appellate court to defend the judgment (assuming that the party prevails on appeal).

I went to the Gibson’s website and left a comment on their website via email CONGRATULATING them!!!!!! Feel free to do the

    Terence G. Gain in reply to Yamamma. | June 13, 2019 at 8:10 pm

    It took tremendous courage for Gibson’s to take this to trial. They would have been ruined if they had lost. I am so happy that justice was done and my admiration for Gibson’s lawyer and the jury immeasurable.

    Mercyneal in reply to Yamamma. | June 13, 2019 at 8:28 pm

    I sent a congratulatory email as well.

LukeHandCool | June 13, 2019 at 6:33 pm

Dear Oberlin,

You’ll be kneading some dough to survive.

I believe that, rather than trying to “appease the campus ‘social justice warfare’ mob,” Oberlin is administered and staffed by True Believers.

healthguyfsu | June 13, 2019 at 6:54 pm

I wonder if Raimondo can get a marketing job with the bakery?

Well, that’s good. I liked Gibson’s in the early 60s, and while Oberlin was good too, nobody from that era has recognized it for decades. As an alumnus I’m happy to help Oberlin out but not with money.

Oberlin photos from the early 60s. The place looks sane and was sane.

The lead photo is Stravinsky (1963) at Oberlin.

Still waiting by the lawsuit by students when they find out that their Oberlin degree DECREASES their market value.

quaker lady | June 13, 2019 at 7:21 pm

Oberlin’s attorney is quoted s saying :“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.”

After a month of trial, does she still not understand that the issue was not “the protest” but the behavior of the college? Very similar to the views of the General Counsel expressed in her blast email.

9thDistrictNeighbor | June 13, 2019 at 7:45 pm

There is no substitute for the wisdom of a 90-year-old man:

“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.”

God Bless you, Mr. Gibson.

I do hope that Gibson’s starts (or expands) a mail order business. I would love to support it.

And Prof. Jacobson, I will contribute to your foundation. Stellar work, here.

“it also means less students who are not able to afford a college education will be able to do so.” And this is The Oberlin Elite? “Fewer,” not “less,” and an obfuscatory double negative. Maybe those less students would be better off learning English somewhere else…

Sign in Gibson’s window:

Gone fishing!
Enjoy the 7-11 we sold the building to!

    artichoke in reply to | June 13, 2019 at 8:31 pm

    Yes I do recommend they leave. This can never be made all better between them, the students and the college.

    They’re best taking the money and relocating their business at least 100 miles away, and leaving Oberlin and its students and alumni to hash out the issues among themselves.

Peasepudding | June 13, 2019 at 8:17 pm

Direct quote from the Oberlin lawyer’s closing argument: “…less students…” I believe she is also a graduate of that pathetic excuse for an institution of higher learning.

Someone here suggested that Gibson’s start a mail order business. They do ship anywhere:

Sign in Gibson’s window:

“Our pastries now equipped with anti-theft devices.”

Blaise MacLean | June 13, 2019 at 8:43 pm

Two quick points.
1. It seems to me that the Gibsons had excellent lawyers. They understood the case and presented to the jury the story they needed to hear.

2. Legal Insurrection has performed a wonderful public service in its coverage of this case. The media sought to suppress it but you guys didn’t let that happen. In the end it is a compelling story as seen not only by the fact that it is now getting out. And the second part of the public service is that since Legal Insurrection was the only media on the ground, your reporting sets the record. It will be hard for the late-coming carpetbaggers in the media to distort the case because you have already reported it first hand.

So, thank you.

    Mercyneal in reply to Blaise MacLean. | June 13, 2019 at 8:50 pm

    And this week Professor Jacobson had a great op-ed in the Wall Street Journal that encapsulated the story perfectly for those who weren’t aware of it

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