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VERDICT: Jury awards Gibson’s Bakery $11 million against Oberlin College

VERDICT: Jury awards Gibson’s Bakery $11 million against Oberlin College

Punitive damage phase to start next Tuesday, which could increase the damages to $33 million.

The Jury in the Gibson’s Bakery v. Oberlin College case has reached a verdict.

According to our reporter in the Courtroom, the jury awarded $11 million. Here are the details: Allyn W. Gibson was awarded $3 million, David Gibson $5.8 million, Gibson Bros. $2,274,500. Next Tuesday there will be a separate punitive damages hearing which could be a double award (meaning tripling the $11 million to $33 million).

[Judge John Miraldi reading Jury Verdict][Photo Credit Legal Insurrection Foundation]

(clarification) Meredith Raimondo was held liable on the libel and interference with business relations, but not intentional infliction of emotional distress. By stipulation, the college is responsible for any amounts awarded against her, so she will not pay anything out of pocket.

We followed this case from the start of the protests, through the lawsuit process, and now trial. Here’s my statement:

The verdict sends a strong message that colleges and universities cannot simply wind up and set loose student social justice warriors and then wash their hands of the consequences. In this case, a wholly innocent 5th-generation bakery was falsely accused of being racist and having a history racial profiling after stopping three black Oberlin College students from shoplifting. The students eventually pleaded guilty, but not before large protests and boycotts intended to destroy the bakery and defame the owners. The jury appears to have accepted that Oberlin College facilitated the wrongful conduct against the bakery.

We will have interviews and video later. We will update this post as more information becomes available.

[Four generations of Gibsons after Jury Verdict][Photo Credit Legal Insurrection Foundation]

UPDATES

Video of David Gibson reacting:

More complete statements by attorneys Lee Plakas, Owen Rarric, and plaintiff David Gibson:

As previously posted, I was amazed at the tone-deaf and demeaning approach of Oberlin College to this family business. Oberlin College claimed the Bakery was worth only $35k, less than one semester at Oberlin College:

I’m still shaking my head at the tone-deafness of the defense in belittling this family business which has sustained five generations of Gibsons, and at the time of the protests sustained three generations: 90-year-old Allyn W. Gibson, his son David Gibson, and his grandson Allyn D. Gibson. There also were almost a dozen employees. After the protests, the Gibsons stopped taking salaries and most of the employees have been laid off. This is real life to these people. To say that the business was worth only $35,000 erases the lives of these people. Maybe it’s just the plaintiff’s lawyer in me coming out, but I’d cross examine this defense expert and college president, and show in closing argument, the tuition, room and board charges at Oberlin College. This business, which has been an important feature of the community since 1885, is worth less than one semester at Oberlin College?

This case is bigger than just this case, and reflects reflects Higher Ed disconnect from the lives of most Americans:

First, from the start of this case I have questioned the aggressive and demeaning attacks on the Gibsons as a defense strategy. There is no evidence that the Gibsons did anything wrong, unless you consider stopping people from stealing something wrong. That lawful act of protecting one’s property nonetheless has devastated a 5-generation business because of Oberlin College racial politics. Gibson’s Bakery survived two World Wars, the Depression, the turmoil of the 1960s, and the so-called Great Recession, but it may not survive Oberlin College’s social justice warriors and their faculty and administrative enablers. If the jury understands this, the other pieces of the case fall into line, factually and legally.

Second, I never cease to be amazed at the arrogance of the college community as reflected in the defense that Gibson’s Bakery was close to worthless. It’s the arrogance of the credentialed. A business that is in its 5th generation, and that currently supports three of those generations, is something of value. A business that employed almost a dozen local employees prior to this incident is something to value. Ultimately the jury will have to put a monetary value on the dramatic drop in business, and the loss of reputation of the individuals, but to demean the business the way was done is maddening.

Scott Wargo, spokesman for Oberlin College, provided the following comment in response to my inquiry: “The College does not have a comment.”

Oberlin just sent this blast email:

Dear Members of the Oberlin Community:

I am writing to update you on the lawsuit that Gibson Bros., Inc. filed against Oberlin College and Vice President and Dean of Students Meredith Raimondo in the Lorain County Court of Common Pleas in November 2017.

Following a trial that spanned almost a full month, the jury found for the plaintiffs earlier today.

We are disappointed with the verdict and regret that the jury did not agree with the clear evidence our team presented.

Neither Oberlin College nor Dean Meredith Raimondo defamed a local business or its owners, and they never endorsed statements made by others. Rather, the College and Dr. Raimondo worked to ensure that students’ freedom of speech was protected and that the student demonstrations were safe and lawful, and they attempted to help the plaintiffs repair any harm caused by the student protests.

As we have stated, colleges cannot be held liable for the independent actions of their students. Institutions of higher education are obligated to protect freedom of speech on their campuses and respect their students’ decision to peacefully exercise their First Amendment rights. Oberlin College acted in accordance with these obligations.

While we are disappointed with the outcome, Oberlin College wishes to thank the members of the jury for their attention and dedication during this lengthy trial. They contributed a great deal of time and effort to this case, and we appreciate their commitment.

Our team will review the jury’s verdict and determine how to move forward.

Donica Thomas Varner
Vice President, General Counsel & Secretary

I wonder if this statement can be used against the college in the punitive damage phase. They have learned nothing, and still are blaming the Gibsons for this.

Dan McGraw, who was in the courtroom, reports:

When the verdict was read by the judge, four  generations of the Gibson family — from 11-year-old Cashlyn to 90-year old Allyn W. “Grandpa” Gibson — hugged each other behind their plaintiff’s courtroom table. They are a hardy bunch, and did not cry or show too much emotion — no wailing or crying by this family —  but as one who has watched them for over a month now, you could see a burden had been lifted from their shoulders.

It was the culmination of their life being blown up and their state of living being pushed upside down ever since three students from Oberlin College shoplifted at their store on Nov. 9, 2016.

Their reward for calling the police on the shoplifters was being tagged as racist by the Oberlin College students who protested their actions. And for Oberlin College to support those actions of defamation. Two-and-a-half years later they feel somewhat vindicated, as an Ohio jury saw what Oberlin College did to them was wrong and slapping them with an $11 million judgement for doing so.

“I am at a loss for words,” 64-year-old David Gibson told Legal Insurrection in an exclusive interview. “Two-and-a-half years of putting up with this has been very difficult and overwhelming. I just want to let people know across the country that this can happen to anyone else, but we stayed and worked together as a family and fought against this. In many ways, what we wanted from Oberlin College the jury gave to us.  They said we were not racists and that the college should have said so when all this started.”

“I thank the jury for seeing what we have seen from the beginning of this,” he said

Owen Rarric, one of the lead attorneys for the Gibson’s, also pointed out that this case has national implications in this time of cultural debate.

“The jury saw that Oberlin College went out of their way to harm a good family and longtime business in their community for no real reason, and the jury said we aren’t going to tolerate that in our community any more,” Rarric said. “The college kept saying we don’t control our students. But the jury told them that we can tolerate some of this from time to time, but not what you did this time.”

Lee Plakas, who handled much of the month-long trial and who gave the closing argument, said this case “is a national tipping point.”

“What the jury saw is that teaching students and having them learn how to be upstanding members of the community is what colleges are supposed to do, not appease some students who they are afraid of,” Plakas said. “People around the country should learn from this, that you can use the legal system to right the wrongs, even if the one doing the wrong is some huge institution who thinks they can do anything they want.”

Roger Copeland, a retired Oberlin College professor of theater and dance, was in the courtroom and seemed ecstatic after the jury came back with their verdict. Prof. Copeland is somewhat famous in the courtroom for getting this response on a Raimondo text to co-workers after a letter-to-the editor he wrote was critical of the school for their handling of the Gibson’ affair. “Fuck him,” Raimondo responded in a text message about Copeland. “I’d say unleash the students if I wasn’t convinced this needs to be put behind us.”

“I’m exhilarated by this verdict,” Copeland said, whose wife Michele worked at the school in food service and testified she was under orders by the school to cut the business off from the cafeteria bagels and pastries they provided because of the student unrest.

“What is most amazing about this trial is that the public was able to see what the process really was in how the school goes about its business,” Copeland said. “It’s almost like the mask has been ripped off the face and we can now see what the face really looks like.”

BACKGROUND

For background on the case, see here.

The plaintiffs are Gibson Bros. Inc. (the Bakery), 90-year-0ld Allyn W. Gibson, and his son, David B. Gibson. The defendants are Oberlin College and its Dean of Students, Meredith Raimondo.

Here are the counts that went to the jury:

Count 1: Libel
Count 3: Tortious Interference with Business Relationships
Count 4: Tortious Interference with Contracts
Count 6: Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress

These are the jury interrogatories the jury had to follow to reach a verdict:

Gibson Bros Inc. Jury Interrogatories

Allyn W. Gibson Jury Interrogatories 

David R. Gibson Jury Interrogatories

The short version of this story is that the day after the 2016 election victory by Donald Trump, a black male Oberlin College student was stopped for shoplifting wine at Gibson’s Bakery and Market in downtown Oberlin, OH. Gibson’s had been in existence since 1885, was frequented by students, and also provided baked goods to the college dining halls. A scuffle ensued that was joined by two black female Oberlin College students accompanying the male shoplifter and apparently acting in concert with him. All three eventually would plead guilty to shoplifting and aggravated trespassing, and would avow that Gibson’s was not engaged in racial profiling.

But before those guilty pleas, students at the college immediately declared that Gibson’s was guilty of racial profiling, and large protests were organized outside the bakery. Flyers were passed out claiming Gibson’s was “racist” and had “a long account of racial profiling and discrimination.” The Oberlin College Dean of Students Meredith Raimondo allegedly participated in handing out the flyers in front of the bakery. The Oberlin College Student Senate also passed a resolution claiming Gibson’s “has a long history of racial profiling and discriminatory treatment of students and residents alike.” The college administration allegedly helped spread this student senate resolution.

Students started a boycott of the bakery, initially joined in by the college. The college eventually resumed business with the bakery, but then terminated that business after the lawsuit was filed.

Gibson’s and its owners sued the college and Raimondo for libel, tortious interference with business relationships and contracts, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and trespass. Gibson’s alleged long-term damage to its business and reputation for the allegedly defamatory accusations and other torts. The plaintiffs in closing argument asked the jury to award $12.8 million in compensatory damages.

Here are our some of our posts when the protests against Gibson’s started, along with the early litigation history:

Here are our trial posts:

—————–

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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Comments

Somebody’s tuition just went up!

    bw222 in reply to Ironman. | June 7, 2019 at 4:31 pm

    Oberlin’s enrollment is lasted as 2,929, so a $3,755 increase in 2019-2020 tuition will cover the $11-million.

      elliesmom in reply to bw222. | June 7, 2019 at 5:21 pm

      All of this happened in the fall of 2016. Only students who were freshman at the time are still there so the majority of the kids who protested have left the building. The students who will have to pick up the tab if this gets paid for by a tuition increase had nothing to do with the protests. Which is typical. Make a mess and leave it for others to clean up.

        bw222 in reply to elliesmom. | June 7, 2019 at 7:45 pm

        Oberlin has long “enjoyed” a reputation as one of the country’s farthest left-wing colleges. Do you actually think its 2019 students would have acted any differently?

        PostLiberal in reply to elliesmom. | June 7, 2019 at 8:31 pm

        Dan McGraw, CI’s reporter on the trial, has questioned some Oberlin students about Gibson’s. The Oberlin students told him that they were told that Gibson’s was racist, and that they shouldn’t purchase anything there. Which they didn’t. As current students are acting in accordance with the “Gibson’s is racist” narrative from the fall of 2016, I have little sympathy for the possibility of their having to pay higher tuition as a result of the lawsuit judgement.

        PODKen in reply to elliesmom. | June 7, 2019 at 10:02 pm

        Tough luck … they “inherited” it.

          C. Lashown in reply to PODKen. | June 8, 2019 at 4:35 am

          LOL I guess the ‘best thing in life’ are not free! I doubt those 3 kids learned anything.

          If folks think this is a big kerfuffle, then just wait until they throw Smollet’s lying butt in the joint! Wonder how Chicago will deal with those riots?

      blkchic2015 in reply to bw222. | June 8, 2019 at 10:44 pm

      The jury still has to award punitive damages which will raise the total amount to just about double the damages award. Whooohooo!

    RadioGuy77 in reply to Ironman. | June 7, 2019 at 6:04 pm

    Holy Crap on a Cracker! This is such good news, and setting a legal precedent. After a full month of testimony, to come back so quickly with a huge award, and GUILTY VERDICT! I will sleep well tonight.

    Kiwi King in reply to Ironman. | June 7, 2019 at 10:03 pm

    …..and alumni contributions just went down.

Good job by the jury!!! Was it 8-0? They will hammer Oberlin with punitive damages. POS Raimondo needs a seven figure penalty.

    Tom Servo in reply to SHV. | June 7, 2019 at 3:48 pm

    Oh YES! This is way on the high end of what I was hoping for/expecting!

    The Low-ball Estimate by Oberlin’s expert backfired badly – clearly it was so low that the Jury just threw it out and went with Gibson’s numbers entirely.

    From Oberlin’s side, this was one of the most incompetent pieces of legal strategy I have ever seen!

      RITaxpayer in reply to Tom Servo. | June 7, 2019 at 4:15 pm

      Tom, I wouldn’t say it was incompetent. The defense lawyers had nothing to defend. They were DOOMED.

        ecreegan in reply to RITaxpayer. | June 7, 2019 at 4:37 pm

        Trying to describe the damages as less than ONE year of salary for ONE of the family members who are no longer being paid by the business was incompetent. However, it was so incompetent I suspect it was at Oberlin’s demand.

    Owego in reply to SHV. | June 8, 2019 at 9:26 am

    Agree. This is a very good thing. Folks today are always looking for unsung heroes-and remaining unsung is probably what these jurors prefer. IMHO this panel joins the Ferguson jury (Michael Brown and the ensuing riots) as such. This was a demonstration of considerable courage, a trait that needn’t always manifest itself in physical ways. Here’s hoping they finish the job in the civil proceeding with an award of the maximum permitted. It would be a good thing if Raimondo, Oberlin’s trustees, et al took this as a reason to do some serious soul searching, but I doubt it; they are condemned to go to their graves with no understanding of what they have done and how wrong they are.

Good for them!

Pillage Idiot | June 7, 2019 at 3:31 pm

Legal question.

I assume Oberlin will appeal the verdict, regardless of the amount of additional punitive damages.

If Oberlin loses on appeal, are they responsible for the legal fees that accrue to Gibson’s from this point forward?

    puhiawa in reply to Pillage Idiot. | June 7, 2019 at 6:46 pm

    Likely no.

      Brave Sir Robbin in reply to puhiawa. | June 7, 2019 at 9:33 pm

      If it is found the Oberlin acted with malice, then it is possible to collect attorney’s fees, in most jurisdictions. Still unlikely, however.

      Terence G. Gain in reply to puhiawa. | June 7, 2019 at 9:58 pm

      Really? That’s unfair and there’s not enough disincentive to a frivolous appeal. In Canada the losing side pays costs.

      I am just delighted by this verdict and I offer my heartiest congratulations to the Giibson family and their lawyers. And thank you LE for your coverage of this important trial. I am hoping that the jury awards $22 million in punitive damages. A lesson needs to be learned.

        C. Lashown in reply to Terence G. Gain. | June 8, 2019 at 4:46 am

        re: “A lesson needs to be learned.”

        After living through the ‘Free Love Movement’ of the 1960’s, and the ‘Black Power Movement’ of the early 1970’s and a half-dozen different social bowel movements since…. I doubt anyone learned anything. Nice sentiment, but unrealistic.

        The SJW’s will double down, this only tells them they were correct in their analysis of American society – the Patriarchy needs to be smashed. This could be a teachable moment for college administrators, but the elite tend towards haughty arrogance so they’ll continue with their indoctrination. The law, it seems, takes it victories where it can and then girds it loins for the next battle.

        Tom Servo in reply to Terence G. Gain. | June 8, 2019 at 7:27 am

        “loser pays” is a big advantage the English and Canadian legal systems have over the American system, which almost never allows it. That rule alone is a big reason why there is so much more litigation in American courts than there is anywhere else.

        of course for the people who make a lot of money serving clients in those courts, that’s a feature, not a bug.

          mrzee in reply to Tom Servo. | June 8, 2019 at 3:34 pm

          The “loser pays” rule is not automatic in Canada. The judge can order the loser to pay some or all of the winner’s costs, or none, depending on the merits of the case.

SHV – Seven figures for punitive damages?? The compensatory damages are already $11 million, and treble punitive damages could be $33 million (both eight figures).

    GeorgeCrosley in reply to Sally MJ. | June 7, 2019 at 3:49 pm

    SHV’s mention of a seven-figure penalty referred to Meredith Raimondo’s individual liability, not the total. In his post, Professor Jacobson said it wasn’t known yet how much she was on the hook for.

      Tom Servo in reply to GeorgeCrosley. | June 7, 2019 at 3:52 pm

      According to Dan, Meredith Raimondo was held liable on the libel but not the other counts. We are still sorting out what that means in terms of damages against her.”

      I understand that ruling, there was no evidence presented (that I heard of) stating that she personally caused Gibson’s to lose it’s contract. (the tortious interference counts) But she DID libel them.

    Terence G. Gain in reply to Sally MJ. | June 7, 2019 at 10:12 pm

    Under Ohio law punitive damages are limited to two times compensatory damages.

A potential $33m Oberlin payout to the plaintiffs? It’d take a heart of stone not to laugh at Oberlin’s woes, especially given this letter:

https://www.oberlin.edu/sites/default/files/content/office/general-counsel/board-documents/3c_ltr_to_community_6-11-2018.pdf

At Tuition of $55,052 it takes 200 additional students to cover the costs. Maybe the students can raise the money by holding bake sales.

    snopercod in reply to bw222. | June 7, 2019 at 3:45 pm

    Bake sales are racist or something…

    JustSayN2O in reply to bw222. | June 7, 2019 at 4:12 pm

    Bake sale. Good idea but those students are too lazy to bake. Here is the solution: Buy baked good from Gibson’s and re-sell them on campus at a profit. Profit.

      B__2 in reply to JustSayN2O. | June 7, 2019 at 5:33 pm

      Fake future student notification: “We plan on depriving Gibson’s Bakery and Candy store any business by employing contractors to bake and make candy and sell it to our students to deprive a racist company business and hopefully drive it from our town. Each student will need to buy at least $10,000 of baked goods and candy so that we can pay off an undeserved debt incurred in trying to protect our ethics and our students.” /sarc

        Subotai Bahadur in reply to B__2. | June 7, 2019 at 5:41 pm

        How sure are you that it was ? This is Oberlin, and they are Leftists. I could see them a) doing something like that, b) encouraging riots and arson, and c) trying the same defense on the next lawsuit/criminal charges.

        Subotai Bahadur

          JusticeDelivered in reply to Subotai Bahadur. | June 7, 2019 at 6:46 pm

          This warms my heart, sometimes the system does deliver justice.

          I had a tendency when I had an opponent by the family jewels to send they a tube of personal lube. That really burned their tails.

    Yamamma in reply to bw222. | June 8, 2019 at 2:55 pm

    Or a car wash.

The defense must have really got the jury upset. SJW 0 Gibsons $11,000,000!

Oberlin will put it down to deplorables and will still refuse to look in the mirror. The price of pandering is pretty stiff.

    I don’t mean this literally. But morally, that defense case was criminal. What was it again, the expert witness was paid by Oberlin twice what he said the bakery was worth?

      Tom Servo in reply to JBourque. | June 7, 2019 at 3:58 pm

      We have been saying all along that you can’t blame the lawyers for their clients idiocy, and it was Oberlin’s strategy that sank this case. ON the OTHER hand, it’s never worth the fee for a lawyer to take on a bad client that is going to make him and his law firm look like incompetent fools when they lose a high publicity decision like this.

      And they sure look like incompetent fools today!

        JusticeDelivered in reply to Tom Servo. | June 7, 2019 at 6:49 pm

        For the most part, attorneys can chose to not associate with unsavory clients.

        Hmm, I don’t remember blaming the lawyers for the defense case.. but I nonetheless maintain the defense case was bad. I’m happy to blame the clients. Brevity was my enemy in this case.

      Observer in reply to JBourque. | June 7, 2019 at 4:11 pm

      The defense “expert” testified Gibson’s was worth only $35,000.

    bear in reply to bernie49. | June 7, 2019 at 4:24 pm

    Bernie, I wouldn’t be surprised if the store was vandalized very soon.

      bernie49 in reply to bear. | June 7, 2019 at 4:35 pm

      I hope they have the place ringed with cameras and the idiots come unmasked.

      CorkyAgain in reply to bear. | June 8, 2019 at 2:12 am

      If the store is vandalized and it can be proven that students did it, Oberlin could find themselves back in court, because they *still* haven’t said that Gibson’s isn’t racist. Student radicals will interpret that as tacit approval for their action.

        Brave Sir Robbin in reply to CorkyAgain. | June 8, 2019 at 10:53 am

        …. and potentially the result of their malice towards Gibson’s. Remember the “unleash the students” email. I bet the Oberlin staff email system is awash with newly added and nasty libel and defamatory content as well as evidence of further malicious intent.

weather report for oberlin’ massive amounts of snowflakes melting due to REAL(ity) climate change: truth!

This gives us hope that all is not lost.

    counsel4pay in reply to ChrisW. | June 7, 2019 at 3:59 pm

    Yes, Chris, this verdict will hearten all those who love truth and despise evil. THIS IS YUGE!

Based on the numbers presented, I will presume the the Oberlin lawyers will file a motion to set aside the verdict and when that fails as it usually does in the Common Pleas courts, then the appeal will be filed.

    How likely is that to work? I’m more up to speed on appeals of criminal case verdicts.

      Tom Servo in reply to JBourque. | June 7, 2019 at 3:54 pm

      Generally for an appeal of this kind of case to work, the Appeals Court will have to find that the Judge himself made an Error of Law in how he conducted this case. I think this Judge was quite careful all the way, which is why I doubt any appeal will be successful.

        daniel_ream in reply to Tom Servo. | June 7, 2019 at 5:02 pm

        My understanding is that in cases like this (such as the infamous McDonald’s Hot Coffee Lawsuit) the awards are often reduced significantly on appeal. How likely is that in this case?

          Tom Servo in reply to daniel_ream. | June 8, 2019 at 7:31 am

          If the jury laid the groundwork for their decision in their notes (and I think they did) then I don’t think there are many grounds for appeal. The infamous McDonald’s case you mentioned was reduced because, iirc, the punitive damages awarded were 20 times the actual damages. In this case, punitive damages will be limited to 2 times actual damages.

Are there plans at LI to survey individual jury members on how/why they arrived at their decision for the bakery?

O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!

I think the judge would have taken some action before now if inclined to set the verdict aside. But what about reducing the amount?

    Tom Servo in reply to Petrushka. | June 7, 2019 at 3:50 pm

    Juries are usually given a very WIDE latitude in setting damages. To overturn, the Judge or appeals court usually has to find that they made a decision that was contrary to the actual evidence that was presented. If there is any evidence at all to back up the juries ruling (and Gibson’s team presented such evidence) then the Juries decision will generally stand.

      Valerie in reply to Tom Servo. | June 8, 2019 at 10:34 am

      Appeals courts routinely reduce damages in personal injury cases. They have a scale for what level of damages are allowable.

counsel4pay | June 7, 2019 at 3:57 pm

W-O-W I congratulate, praise, and thank:

1. THE JURY! [May God bless you and yours and protect you]
2, The trial judge and COURT STAFF
3. Our reporter
4 Our website host
5. Plaintiffs’ counsel and staff [superb; transcendental]
6. GIBSONS, its owners, staff, and supporters

And, most of all, The Lord, God, Almighty:

“Praise to the Lord”

Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation!
O my soul, praise him, for he is thy health and salvation!
Join the great throng,Psaltery, organ and song,
Sounding in glad adoration!

Praise to the Lord! Over all things he gloriously reigneth.
Borne as on eagle wings, safely his Saints he sustaineth.
Hast thou not seen How all thou needest hath been
Granted in what he ordaineth?

Praise to the Lord, who doth prosper thy way and defend thee.
Surely his goodness and mercy shall ever attend thee.
Ponder anew What the Almighty can do,
Who with his love doth befriend thee.

[Text: Joachim Neander, 1650-1680; trans. by Catherine Winkworth, 1829-1878
Music: From Stralsund Gesangbuch, 1665; arr. by William S. Bennett, 1816-1875, and Otto Goldschmidt, 1829-1907]

Our faith has been affirmed.
Our prayers have been heard.
Our unseen friends, Gibsons and more, have been blessed.

I am content.
Adieu.

Excellent, it is about time that these educational campus elite’s learn that Words and actions have consequences. For too long we have witnessed this idea that because the far left are assisted by the media in spreading propaganda that they can get away with saying and doing whatever they want without consequences. When you do something like this you are placing yourself squarely in the position of paying a price for lying… When you begin to act like this doing what was done, you find out that freedom is real and rights cannot be trampled on … Dont tread on me…

Count 1: Libel
Count 3: Tortious Interference with Business Relationships
Count 4: Tortious Interference with Contracts
Count 6: Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress

This should happen more often until the adults finally step up and start running colleges and universities as institutions of higher learning, not baby-sitting services for the terminally childish.

    bear in reply to princepsCO. | June 7, 2019 at 4:18 pm

    I agree with your comment, but I’m assuming that you meant: baby-sitting = an eight-year-old baby-sitting for a drug/alcohol-fueled college party.

    Valerie in reply to princepsCO. | June 8, 2019 at 10:36 am

    The baby-sitting services a feature, not a bug.

    Remember, Bill Ayers, who planned to kill up to 24 million Americans, retired from our educational system. We have people playing “F*** the System,” and Oberlin played stupid games, winning a stupid prize.

“According to Dan, Meredith Raimondo was held liable on the libel but not the other counts. We are still sorting out what that means in terms of damages against her.”

1) $11m is excessive, a more reasonable amount based on value of lost earnings is closer to $$1m to $2m. It should be noted that Oberlin’s expert valuation of $35k probably help sway the jury to the other extreme. Oberlin’s expert having testified in numerous other valuation suits, should have known better. He basically cratered his professional credentials – he is going to have trouble getting new gigs.

2) Meredith – as one of Oberlin’s prime instigators in the protest will likely get fired.

3) The damage award will very likely get appealed and cut back down to a reasonable number. Closer to the $2m-$3m noted above

    xdevildog in reply to Joe-dallas. | June 7, 2019 at 4:32 pm

    I have wondered as this case progressed if Oberlin faced the reality that they were going to lose immediately after the suit was filed and determined that the best strategy was to inflame the jury, producing astronomical damages that would be trimmed back on appeal. Using Joe’s numbers, writing a check for two or three million beats an award of six or seven million that is upheld on appeal.

    But, “never ascribe to malice actions which can be explained by stupidity” probably applies here.

      artichoke in reply to xdevildog. | June 7, 2019 at 5:08 pm

      I disagree, I don’t think they’re that stupid. I just think they’re used to having their cultural norms and contructed reality subsituted on demand for that of flyover country — they are in flyover country but not of it.

      I think the school could learn a lot from its lovely surroundings and the local midwestern culture and values, for real this time, and there could be eventually a reconciliation. But the college would have to change.

    Observer in reply to Joe-dallas. | June 7, 2019 at 4:59 pm

    The bakery was awarded compensatory damages of $2,274,500. Individual plaintiff Allyn Gibson was awarded compensatory damages of $5,800,000 million. Individual plaintiff David Gibson was awarded compensatory damages of $3,000,000.

    Remember that one of the counts that went to the jury was intentional infliction of emotional distress, so it’s possible that the compensatory damage awards to the individual plaintiffs included money for those injuries, which are difficult to quantify, and many judges are unwilling to second-guess the jury’s determination.

      Brave Sir Robbin in reply to Observer. | June 7, 2019 at 9:43 pm

      This is a great point. The compensatory damages will be split between economic and non-economic damages. If the economic damages are reasonable, say in the $1.4 million area, this will be very hard to appeal.

    Mac45 in reply to Joe-dallas. | June 7, 2019 at 5:07 pm

    I’m not so sure about that, Joe. And, I’ll explain why.

    Since this incident, Gibson’s has lost a total of ~$500,000 over two years. The total income for Gibson’s, was only ~$500,000 in 2016, down from over $800,000 in 2015. It is projected to fall to a little over $400,000 in 2019. If we assume that the actual income will remain in the $500,000 range for the next ten years [which is not really out of line], this will mean a loss of $300,000 a year for 10 years, or $3 million. For 30 years, this would work out to $9 million. And, this is just from lost profits to the bakery/store operation. When one adds in the potential loss to the other Gibson family business operations, that figure goes up. $11 million seems like a reasonable figure to me. The interesting thing will be what the punitive judgement is.

    tommy mc donnell in reply to Joe-dallas. | June 7, 2019 at 6:58 pm

    after this verdict Raimondo will be number one on the hiring list of every ivy league college.

Now it’s time to be vindictive. The student senate voted on this: https://legalinsurrection.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Oberlin-College-Student-Senate-Resolution-Gibsons-e1557788492113.jpg
Time to sue all the officers and members of the senate for libel. Force them to return to town. Force them to pay for lawyers. Ruin them financially. They’ll mostly be judgement proof, but they can still be made financial wrecks. They deserve it.

    Tom Servo in reply to gospace. | June 7, 2019 at 5:33 pm

    I understand the sentiment, but Gibson’s only gets one bite at the apple, and thank heaven it was a good one! But if Gibson’s had wanted to sue anyone else for libel, they would have had to have been added as defendants to the lawsuit just concluded. (I agree with Gibson’s decision not to clutter up their suit with a lot of potentially sympathetic defendants)

Yyyuuugggeee

I am surprised at the 11m award. From the Day 6 or 7 reporting I’d thought Gibsons was only asking for ~5m in damages?

I’m thinking I missed something here?

    Observer in reply to Voyager. | June 7, 2019 at 4:45 pm

    Gibson’s Bakery wasn’t the only plaintiff in the lawsuit, and the bakery didn’t receive the entire $11+ million award. The bakery was awarded compensatory damages of $2,274,500. Individual plaintiff Allyn Gibson was awarded compensatory damages of $5,800,000 million. Individual plaintiff David Gibson was awarded compensatory damages of $3,000,000.

    Remember that compensatory damages for individual plaintiffs include more than just their economic losses; it also includes their pain and suffering. And juries can value those kind of losses as they see fit.

Does Raimondo’s libel conviction imply(?) malice? I know when I was a University faculty member, any legal cost and possible judgments were covered by the University as long as my conduct complied with university guidelines and didn’t involve malice. If my behavior was malicious, the university could throw me under the financial bus. Hopefully the University won’t cover Raimondo’s assessed damages.

    Observer in reply to SHV. | June 7, 2019 at 4:39 pm

    Presumably the jury found that at least some of the defendants acted with malice, since they’re going into the punitive damages phase next week. Until we see how the jurors filled out the individual interrogatories, we won’t know if Raimondo was one of the defendants the jury found acted with malice, but hopefully she was.

How much will Raimondo be out? Since the college argued she was acting on her own the insurance company of the College and the College itself should not pay the judgment against this woman.

    artichoke in reply to dystopia. | June 7, 2019 at 5:16 pm

    My amateur thought is that the college would have to sue her to recover damages for her “ultra vires” bad acts.

      Valerie in reply to artichoke. | June 8, 2019 at 10:42 am

      That does not matter, as far as the plaintiffs are concerned. The defendants have joint and several liability. Splitting up the damages is their problem.

This verdict could send CNN to the table to settle with the Covington students. ALL these cases should demand sensitivity training as well as damages.

    healthguyfsu in reply to mrtea. | June 7, 2019 at 6:59 pm

    Slow down a bit…they have better lawyers and are protected by that journalism shield.

      Ken in Camarillo in reply to healthguyfsu. | June 8, 2019 at 3:47 am

      There is only one way that “journalists” have any better standing than any ordinary citizen when it comes to freedom of the press: recognized “journalists” have shield laws that deal with not having to reveal sources. I don’t think “journalists” have any extra defense when it comes to libel.

        Milhouse in reply to Ken in Camarillo. | June 14, 2019 at 1:27 am

        Shield laws exist in many but not all states. There is no federal shield law.

        Shield laws are offensive to the US constitution and to the rule of law.

    bw222 in reply to mrtea. | June 7, 2019 at 8:03 pm

    CNN’s biggest mistake was non-coverage of Brian Sims, the gay Pennsylvania legislator who verbally attacked an elderly woman outside an abortion clinic, broadcast in on social media and tried to dox three teenage girls.

    Unless the lawyers are totally incompetent, they will contrast the coverage.

The Friendly Grizzly | June 7, 2019 at 4:39 pm

I’m just twisted enough to have wanted an award of $11,035,00.00.

The Friendly Grizzly | June 7, 2019 at 4:40 pm

I meant $11,035,000.00.

No doubt this will be the lead off story on NBC news tonight and a banner, above-the-fold headline in the NYT/WashPo tomorrow. NOT!

Their side lost—and lost BIG. They’ll just shuck it off and hope it goes away. Let’s see what happens with the Covington kids.

This merde has got to stop.

Let this be a lesson to CNN re:covington kids lawsuit that is currently percolating. That will be held in Kentucky, I think. And the local towns folk might not be as “woke” as CNN is hoping. Same with Oberlin. Funny what happens when you ask middle America to make a judgement.

You can bet CNN attorney’s are looking hard at this. And you can bet Covington attorney will turn the thumbscrews another few turns after today.

Dear Members of the Oberlin Community:

I am writing to update you on the lawsuit that Gibson Bros., Inc. filed against Oberlin College and Vice President and Dean of Students Meredith Raimondo in the Lorain County Court of Common Pleas in November 2017.

Following a trial that spanned almost a full month, the jury found for the plaintiffs earlier today.

We are disappointed with the verdict and regret that the jury did not agree with the clear evidence our team presented.

Neither Oberlin College nor Dean Meredith Raimondo defamed a local business or its owners, and they never endorsed statements made by others. Rather, the College and Dr. Raimondo worked to ensure that students’ freedom of speech was protected and that the student demonstrations were safe and lawful, and they attempted to help the plaintiffs repair any harm caused by the student protests.

As we have stated, colleges cannot be held liable for the independent actions of their students. Institutions of higher education are obligated to protect freedom of speech on their campuses and respect their students’ decision to peacefully exercise their First Amendment rights. Oberlin College acted in accordance with these obligations.

While we are disappointed with the outcome, Oberlin College wishes to thank the members of the jury for their attention and dedication during this lengthy trial. They contributed a great deal of time and effort to this case, and we appreciate their commitment.

Our team will review the jury’s verdict and determine how to move forward.

Donica Thomas Varner
Vice President, General Counsel & Secretary

    SeekingRationalThought in reply to rhhardin. | June 7, 2019 at 5:12 pm

    Wow! Talk about snowflakes with no self-awareness.

      “We are disappointed with the verdict and regret that the jury did not agree with the clear evidence our team presented.”

      Actually we followed the trial. You didn’t present any “evidence” at all, champ.

      “Neither Oberlin College nor Dean Meredith Raimondo defamed a local business or its owners, and they never endorsed statements made by others.”

      Excuse me? Wasn’t there this little thing called A JURY that just had something to say about that???

      “As we have stated, colleges cannot be held liable for the independent actions of their students.”

      Actually you were just held liable for YOUR actions, genius!!

    artichoke in reply to rhhardin. | June 7, 2019 at 5:20 pm

    Is this letter real? All I see at https://oberlinreview.org/ is a “Gibson’s lawsuit will go to trial” link over on the right.

      rhhardin in reply to artichoke. | June 7, 2019 at 5:23 pm

      Yes, I’m an alumnus and it just came.

      Anonamom in reply to artichoke. | June 7, 2019 at 6:38 pm

      I clicked on the link to the Oberlin Review. “Server not found.” It seems they’re having a no good, terrible, very bad day. Hahahahahahahahahaha!

      MajorWood in reply to artichoke. | June 8, 2019 at 1:11 am

      The review is the student newspaper. The letter in LI is one emailed out to the alumni at around 4:30 EST today. There was also an article in the last issue of the review in April which basically echoed Oberlin’s official position on the matter. The other alumni that I have spoken with today are not amused, but then, I only associate with the normal ones. The fringe may be in complete agreement with the college.

      Someone noted recently that Oberlin took charge of the facebook page. If I could remember my alumni login and password I would go and check out that page, but I did the #walkawayfromOberlin thing a long time ago. I bet they do not want us talking among ourselves.

      My challenge this week will be to see how many Chernobyl references I can slip into Oberlin discussions. 😉

    artichoke in reply to rhhardin. | June 7, 2019 at 5:28 pm

    ” they attempted to help the plaintiffs repair any harm caused by the student protests”

    Really? I don’t recall hearing of such evidence presented at the trial.

    Anonamom in reply to rhhardin. | June 7, 2019 at 6:40 pm

    Well, apparently they were not paying attention during the trial and learned nothing. I didn’t think they could get any stupider (so to speak) than their cross-examination on damages, but I was wrong.

    Thanks for sharing the letter.

    MajorWood in reply to rhhardin. | June 7, 2019 at 6:51 pm

    OK, so I am ot the only one getting emails from a different dimension/reality/universe.

    I work with addicts, and I tell them that they have reached the point where they have two options: humility or humiliation. The first can be achieved with 12 simple steps, while the latter comes from 2 different steps: step 1, it gets worse; step 2, it gets worse than you can possibly imagine. Experience tells me that Oberlin has chosen the 2 step approach, and that their strategy to get out of the death spiral is to pull back harder on the stick.

    Cogsys in reply to rhhardin. | June 8, 2019 at 7:29 am

    As an attorney, I am surprised by the harsh response of Attorney Varner. As General Counsel her responsibility is to provide a clear and realistic understanding of the law, to determine the institution’s stance through discussion with Board and staff, and to frame a cohesive strategy based on law and institutional preference.

    The content and tone of the letter suggest she has failed. I suspect Attorney Varner established the overall direction of the defense, tactics which obviously failed. She is a terrible GC.

      Tom Servo in reply to Cogsys. | June 8, 2019 at 7:37 am

      I was darkly amused by how Varner’s letter says “we will respect the juries decision” just one paragraph after she has disrespected the juries decision.

Richard Aubrey | June 7, 2019 at 5:03 pm

I note the college’s letter referred to protecting freedom of speech. Snork.
These arrogant fools didn’t think discovery would, 1, sink them, 2, make them look bad.
To their peers, it probably looks pretty woke and praiseworthy.

Anticipating the praise of the woke, they never figured normal people would be on the jury.

The perps in the Covington case were far more egregious and there must be thousands of documents showing at least no interest in what actually happened when peddling this slander.
How much willl CNN pay to avoid discovery?

    MajorWood in reply to Richard Aubrey. | June 7, 2019 at 6:56 pm

    A friend of mine who lives in Northern Virginia swears that at around 3:30 this afternoon he distinctly heard “Oh F&%#” coming from the general direction of the Washington Post. 😉

    MajorWood in reply to Richard Aubrey. | June 7, 2019 at 7:47 pm

    For some time now people have been giving me grief about this really not being that big of a case. And to be honest, it wasn’t, until the college chose to make it one. We can probably debate about the extent of the judgement, but the one thing we are all likely to be in agreement on is just how far out of their way that Oberlin went in asking for it. I didn’t check, but I wonder if Krislov testified while wearing a U. of M. tie. It would not surprise me. And by getting it, my guess is that they are about to find themselves as the persona non grata of the progressive left. They done Sharpton’d themselves here. Whatever they envisioned getting out of this, it will likely be the opposite. Someone saw a shortcut to street cred city without checking to see how close it was to the edge of the cliff, and that was all she wrote.

    Anyone want to bet that the entire WaPo staff is spending this weekend in the office? It just got real for them.

      JPL17 in reply to MajorWood. | June 7, 2019 at 11:58 pm

      “They done Sharpton’d themselves here.

      I think they more “Jussie Smollen’d” themselves here.

      Valerie in reply to MajorWood. | June 8, 2019 at 10:49 am

      This case is reminiscent of the McDonals’ Coffee Case, where overaggressive acts by counsel led to a punitive damages verdict, when they could have settled for medical bills.

smalltownoklahoman | June 7, 2019 at 5:05 pm

Justice served, Oberlin stepped in it big time with how they handled this matter. They will now serve as a national example of how NOT to handle things when a college’s students misbehave off campus!

It’s not exactly off campus – the college is everywhere. Legally off campus, perhaps, but in the middle of things.

To students it’s the same as the snack bar. A disconnect they failed to make when stealing turned up as prohibited there. No longer college rules.

Looking forward to seeing Professor Jacobson on Tucker Carlson reporting on this momentous decision.

    Another Voice in reply to Leslie Eastman. | June 7, 2019 at 7:15 pm

    Though there is verdict, I don’t want to assume when Prof. J will take to the air as there are still some charges which have yet to be rendered an amount of damages. But when it does can you post a heads up so we can tune in at air time?

    yeah. This is good news. To be celebrated.

    Other battles not won this week:
    On the left coast (Wa state) a Christian florist has been crucified 9-0 for refusing to put together a floral arrangement for a gay wedding. Note she was more than happy to sell the flowers, just not her professional services…amazing since cake this was already determined to be a first amendment protection in the cake decorating space.

    I think Fox news covered the story. It is a major bummer.

      Tom Servo in reply to Andy. | June 8, 2019 at 7:40 am

      The Washington State case is headed back to the SCOTUS, and this was a huge mistake on the part of the Washington State Supreme Court – they openly defied the SCOTUS, and will get slapped down. But that’s fodder for a different thread.

        Andy in reply to Tom Servo. | June 8, 2019 at 5:12 pm

        The Washington AG has some effed up priorities. Meanwhile pot stores are marketing to kids like it’s not regulated at all.

      Milhouse in reply to Andy. | June 14, 2019 at 1:35 am

      amazing since cake this was already determined to be a first amendment protection in the cake decorating space.

      No, it wasn’t. It may be, one day, and probably should be, but so far there has been no such decision.

      But even if the making of custom cakes is eventually determined to be a form of speech, that would not automatically mean the making of floral arrangements is too.

So happy to see this, and I’m still amazed at Oberlin’s tone deafness in sending out that letter. Most people, in that position, simply say that a verdict was reached; they are reviewing it and weighing their options, and leave it at that. But no, the SJW’s at Oberlin have to go back and try to relitigate this as some kind of First Amendment case, when it obviously wasn’t.

I think Oberlin would have been better off not presenting any kind of expert on damages and should have just tried to reduce the Gibson’s experts damages on cross. That clearly backfired, and I’m glad–to slander a business and family, and then tell them that their life’s work is worthless if just another example of Oberlin’s thuggery. I hope Raimondo ponders long and hard about this, although I’m sure some other nit-wit college will hire her once she’s gone from Oberlin.

    artichoke in reply to rochf. | June 7, 2019 at 5:25 pm

    Pace recently hired the president who presided over this incident, Krislov. But he had been there about 10 years which is a normal time to move on from a college presidency anyway.

      healthguyfsu in reply to artichoke. | June 7, 2019 at 7:06 pm

      The real reasons most Presidents move on is that their sources of fundraising dry up after they’ve emptied all of their wells.

      The longest ones are there because they are the best at “bug the people in your network until they cave and pay up.”

    mrtea in reply to rochf. | June 7, 2019 at 6:34 pm

    Future dem politician.

NavyMustang | June 7, 2019 at 5:27 pm

The Oberlin letter is amazing. It clearly shows just how delusional the college really is. SMH.

Restores your faith in the judicial system. They might need to turn the entire campus into a safe space.

Under the guise of not wanting to support racism, I bet that the Comrades at Oberline refuse to pay even if they exhaust all appeals.

Watch for the bakery to mysteriously burn down, or for students to “spontaneously” blockade the bakery for weeks on end.

    MajorWood in reply to Eric R.. | June 7, 2019 at 6:58 pm

    They can’t burn down the bakery without burning down their own bookstore, but then, being smart hasn’t been a fact in evidence recently.

    Brave Sir Robbin in reply to Eric R.. | June 7, 2019 at 9:55 pm

    Oberlin could try and refuse to pay, but then the local authorities would either seize financial assets of the college, or seize and auction off college property, after putting officers of the college in jail for defying a court order.

    The officers of the college do not care. It’s not their personal money, so why not cut the check?

So was Oberlin found liable of all the counts, or just some? I can’t seem to find that info.

Bruce Hayden | June 7, 2019 at 5:48 pm

My question – can the possibility of punitive damages operate as a spur to settle the case? That assumes that the college is rational here, and they may be in serious denial here. To serious to settle. I would think that settling for half the current award, thereabouts, would be doable. Imagine the college asking alums for $33 million to cover this award. I know that if I were one of their alums I would balk (but then, again, I have used my alma mater’s abysmal FIRE rating as an excuse not to donate for years now). Any punitive damages would be pretty bad for the school, in terms of alumnae support and fund raising.

Always had some sentimental attachment to the school, and the town, since I had ancestors leave there to move up to the (then) wilds on MI to open a Christian college in the 1850s, and my great great grandfather returned to join the army there to fight in the Civil War. My mother had letters back and forth between his wife and her sisters who stayed back in Oberlin about their three passions: emancipation, suffrage, and temperance.

    elliesmom in reply to Bruce Hayden. | June 7, 2019 at 6:10 pm

    Why would Gibson’s settle for half what the jury has already awarded them with the real possibility of punitive damages? Maybe take the $11 million and run, foregoing the punitive awards in exchange for Oberlin’s agreement not to appeal, but it doesn’t appear the judge has done anything that would be grounds for appeal. I’m not a lawyer, but you folks are, and no one following the trial has flagged anything he’s done.

      Tom Servo in reply to elliesmom. | June 7, 2019 at 6:28 pm

      LOL – you said it, why would Gibson’s settle now? That would be like Tom Brady throwing a winning touchdown pass with 3 seconds left, and the other team running up and asking “hey, is it okay if we quit now and just call it a tie???”

      The Decision is IN. Gibson’s WON. Oberlin LOST. There’s nothing to “settle” except whether they want to pay up in cash, money order, or cashier’s check.

      (sure they might appeal. Their chances of winning an appeal, based on the lack of evidence the defense presented, are between slim and none)

        Brave Sir Robbin in reply to Tom Servo. | June 7, 2019 at 10:16 pm

        The Gibson’s do not actually get the money until all appeals are exhausted, which could be years even if appeals are denied, so they may want to settle to get access to the money, forego the wait, and avoid the uncertainty of the punitive damages and appeal process. But at this point, the college would need to proffer a pretty compelling settlement offer.

33 million is 3.7% of Oberlin’s $887 million endowment. Painful but not debilitating.

    rdmdawg in reply to pst314. | June 7, 2019 at 6:36 pm

    I think the point was to achieve justice for Gibson’s, not bankrupt the college. Nobody thinks $11 million is a trivial amount of money.

      pst314 in reply to rdmdawg. | June 7, 2019 at 8:29 pm

      I was not making the point that you seem to think. I was simply noting the raw numbers, which give an idea of how hard a financial hit this is–painful but not ruinous–and can thus be a useful datum. And who knows, there may be readers of this blog who do not know how large such colleges’ endowments are.

        MajorWood in reply to pst314. | June 8, 2019 at 11:10 am

        An endowment is a collection of investments which generate income. In the budget letter which has been cited in this thread, the annual budget is $160M, of which about 25% ($40M) is derived from income from the endowment, at an est 4-5% return. So, lets say that $33M is deducted from the endowment. At 4%, that is roughly $1.2M that is no longer available each year, which translates into a significant number of faculty salaries that just went poof. So someone gets to tell a bunch of department heads that they have just lost a position in their department. As a STEM person, I am pretty sure that the STEM department heads aren’t going to be amused at this prospect when it was more likely that the bulk of the instigators came from departments housed over in King Hall. So now we have some world class, Game of Thrones level infighting. It is academic chicken at its finest, no one wants to back down, especially those who are more intimately involved in the process. In addition to the letter which was sent out late on Friday, just this week they sent out an “Around the Square 2019” commencement edition fundraising letter, possibly hoping to get some checks written in the morning before the jury returned.

        But if nothing changes, then nothing changes. The reluctance to acknowledge that a cancer exists simply means that it will continue to spread and eventually take down the whole organism, where no amount of external life-support can fix it. For some of us here, there is a bit of grief in this because we have watched a place that at one point was important to us take a significant change for the worse. But at the same time, I also have a policy where the second that “tough love” is mentioned as an option, it becomes the only option. To me, Oberlin went there the second that they cut business ties with Gibsons.

        One of my more pessimistic academic friends is of the opinion that there are those at Oberlin who have always viewed this as a fundraising effort, and that no matter how large the cost, that they will ultimately reap more. And there is a part of me that wonders whether a significant sugar daddy will step up and underwrite the whole debacle as a way of rewarding Oberlin for staying true to *their* principles. I emphasize this, to indicate that they are in no way MY principles, far from it. The real test will be down the road when I suspect that more and more alumni will start to recognize that Oberlin no longer reflects their principles as well.

    MajorWood in reply to pst314. | June 7, 2019 at 7:21 pm

    I tell drug addicts that the first step is to stop digging. Why is it that I suspect Oberlin’s next move will be to buy a backhoe. They don’t appear to even be close to being done with this. As other alumni will attest, that letter was the first one that they sent out, and it appears to be even more disconnected than that article in The Review. I have a feeling that when the alumni in general begin to realize the extent and length of the deception through a lack of information that they will make some serious demands, that the administration and board will probably blow off these demands (sort of like they did the trial), and then things will get really interesting. When BS talks, money walks.

    Oh, and let me apologize here for putting my Gibsons T-shirt back on w/o a good washing first. At least trust me when I say it isn’t even close to the stank coming from the west side of Tappan Square.

Kind of late to settle for less than the award. They could offer to write a check and not appeal.

If this is covered by insurance, the insurer may take charge.

    nebel in reply to Petrushka. | June 7, 2019 at 6:56 pm

    I believe it is unusual for insurers to cover punitive damages awards. Also, I wouldn’t be surprised if the policy excludes damages awarded for wrongful acts like libel.

      Brave Sir Robbin in reply to nebel. | June 7, 2019 at 10:20 pm

      It would also be unusual for insurance to pay if malice was found, which is the case here. Usually, insurance only covers errors and omissions, not criminality or malicious actions which by definition are intentional, and therefore not insurable.

The speed of the verdict is worth noting especially given the set of charges to be dealt with. It seems to me that there must have been little for the jury to disagree about. If I was Oberlin I would be trying to avoid triple damages at this point and settle.

    Tom Servo in reply to bernie49. | June 7, 2019 at 6:33 pm

    As we noted above, I’m sure Oberlin would want to settle now. But why would Gibson’s? They’ve won completely.

    And this is why you don’t fiddle fart around with accepting reality until it’s too late. Like Oberlin just did.

      mrtea in reply to Tom Servo. | June 7, 2019 at 6:46 pm

      The bakery could avoid a long appeal process by accepting immediate payment of the settlement and foregoing the punitive phase. But is it even up to them anymore? The verdict is in, isn’t it in the judges hands now?

      Andy in reply to Tom Servo. | June 7, 2019 at 7:33 pm

      They could have done the right thing all the way up to the trial and paid zero.

      This wasn’t about the money for Oberlin. Hopefully the punitive phase makes them learn.

      Also— it will be good to hear whether this landed in the intentional act space…. so no insurance. Insurance will pay zero on punitive, so this could be a double wammy.

    MajorWood in reply to bernie49. | June 7, 2019 at 8:00 pm

    Oberlin had a good half dozen, maybe even a full baker’s dozen opportunities to settle, but they had to double down each time. dare I say, “it is in their nature.”

    I think tomorrow morning that I will bookmark Zillow and 44074 just to see whose house gets put on the market first. I noticed that Ben Jones didn’t send out the alumni email.

    rochf in reply to bernie49. | June 8, 2019 at 11:23 am

    The speed of the verdict leads me to believe that they went back; chose a foreperson; read the instructions; took a poll on liability; and proceeded to hash out damages.

    I can’t imagine why any general counsel would send out that letter right before punitive damages are being assessed–I’d love to see that admitted into evidence as proof of their bad faith.

i lurve a story with a happy ending…

and i hope they get the full monty from the jury next week.

make Oberlin scream

Will the jury see the alumni letter that basically said the jury was wrong before they, the jury, decides punitive damages?

    Tom Servo in reply to Anchovy. | June 7, 2019 at 6:30 pm

    They shouldn’t, but I don’t think they’re sequestered, this isn’t a criminal trial. You never know what someone will see.

    It was a very stupid letter for Oberlin to send out.

      Anonamom in reply to Tom Servo. | June 7, 2019 at 6:46 pm

      Yes, but suggesting that a century-old business is worth *maybe* $35,000 pretty much determined that Oberlin was going to set the new gold standard for stupid.

    gospace in reply to Anchovy. | June 7, 2019 at 6:49 pm

    I don’t think civil juries are sequestered. If any of them are reading this column, they’ll see it. And if a separate hearing is now held on damages- I don’t see why it couldn’t be entered into evidence.

Sweeeeeeet, just like Gibson’s Bakery treats!!!

Hopefully this is the first of many such verdicts. Time to put some teeth into “get woke go broke.”

Memo to Oberlin College: Quit being SJW fascists. Also, fire your lawyers and get better ones.

Great news; this makes my weekend. Some semblance of common sense and accountability still exists in the Heartland.

The obnoxious, arrogant and bullying Leftist SJW jackboots who are installed in academia and other segments of American society should take note.

A hearty thanks to Daniel McGraw and the Legal Insurrection team for their stellar reporting and coverage of this entire epic saga.

DieJustAsHappy | June 7, 2019 at 6:50 pm

$11 million and possibly more – that’ll make a lot of yeast rise!

If Oberlin expects to even get in front of an appellate court much less win an appeal they need errors in law made by the judge or jury. It seems there are none and that they found exactly according to the jury questionnaires.

    Tom Servo in reply to Joelist. | June 7, 2019 at 7:20 pm

    your criticisms are accurate, but it’s amusing to mock them with the grandiose name they chose for themselves.

theduchessofkitty | June 7, 2019 at 7:15 pm

Memo to Oberlin:

GET WOKE, GO BROKE.

Please stop calling these Communist punks social justice warriors. There’s no such thing as social injustice and these bullies certainly could never pass as warriors. Stop allowing Communists to own the language.

    denizen in reply to SafeTea. | June 7, 2019 at 7:42 pm

    The point is that nobody would believe they are “warriors” and they know that. As a result, it is effective rhetoric. Any literal, logical explanation of what is wrong with them is ineffective rhetoric for the obvious reason that it doesn’t even purport to be an attempt to persuade on an emotional level.

    If you prefer dialectic arguments, fine, but that doesn’t make them more effective in persuading the vast majority of people who operate on emotional persuasion. If you want to win, call them SJWs. If you don’t, call them social injustice bullies.

    guyjones in reply to SafeTea. | June 7, 2019 at 10:18 pm

    I might be wrong, but, my understanding is that “SJW” was contrived by conservatives as a sarcastic and pejorative reference to mock Leftists’ insufferable sanctimony and self-congratulatory egotism.

    So, the phrase is a totally sarcastic characterization, from inception.

    Valerie in reply to SafeTea. | June 8, 2019 at 10:57 am

    Sorry for the “fat thumbs” downvote.

    Social Justice Warriors and SJW are terms used by conservatives, and they are also used by social media companies to find and silence political speech.

    The useful idiots do not use the phrase.

GOOD! May OBerlin burn in HELL (after they’ve paid triple damages.

The letter from Oberlin, doubling down on their arrogant denial of culpability in this case, should be shown to the jury. It is my fervent wish that the maximum amount of punitive damages be awarded to the Gibsons.

Oberlin, its students and anyone agreeing with their attitude towards non-communists are despicable. I wish, also, that this judgement could have meant the absolute destruction of the college and all other anti-American institutions.

    Brave Sir Robbin in reply to bear. | June 7, 2019 at 10:35 pm

    It is more than likely the jury in the punitive damages phase may only consider evidence presented a the trial that established a matter of fact. Therefore, if not entered into evidence during the compensatory phase, it is likely difficult to enter the evidence into the punitive damage phase.

    It is also very difficult to enter new evidence into the record during appeal unless it exculpatory and/or was unlawfully or unethically withheld.

They didn’t refuse to bake a gay wedding cake at least.

Blaise MacLean | June 7, 2019 at 7:30 pm

Regarding the “blast” statement sent out by the College, I note it includes the statement that they “…tried to help the Plaintiffs repair any damage caused by the student protests.” I am surprised to read that and think it is actually untrue.

I hope the jury is able to consider this letter as they deliberate on punitive damages.

Also, does insurance cover Oberlin’s damages (general and punitive)?

    Milhouse in reply to Blaise MacLean. | June 14, 2019 at 1:55 am

    What they mean is they tried to help Gibson’s meet with the students and grovel appropriately in order to earn forgiveness. That’s the only way they can conceive of “repairing the damage”. Issuing the letter that Gibson’s asked them to is beyond their conception.

BIGGER QUESTION: Did the jury give any indication as to whether these were “intentional acts”

VERY IMPORTANT>>> Cuz if so, insurance may stiff Oberlin on covering these damages. We already know punitive damages aren’t covered by insurance.

It is still a big win if it wasn’t found as an intentional act because insurance carriers will start squeezing colleges on this sort of stuff as a “hazard”…and they like to force insureds to get rid of hazards…so it will be a win in the long term either way. In fact, it may be bigger if the insurance carrier has to foot the bill, because in a room full of adults, adults will say knock this SJW mob crap off or it will cost us big time.

In the research on the insurance carrier— it would be interesting to see who else this carrier covers.

    artichoke in reply to Andy. | June 9, 2019 at 7:28 pm

    Wouldn’t it be funny if insurers directed a change in Admissions to stop admitting social-activist types?

Oberlin already owes a debt to society for Lena Dunham

legacyrepublican | June 7, 2019 at 7:54 pm

I am happy with this verdict, obviously.

But, what is most telling is the letter Oberlin sent out immediately. There is no remorse. There is no sense of duty to their neighbor, Gibson’s Bakery. Their arrogance is still on full display.

I could say to Oberlin College that they could learn a lot from the simple truth in a State Farm ad about being a good neighbor. But they wouldn’t listen.

Somewhere along the way, they forgot that the best teacher is one who is still learning themselves.

Fantastic news. Thank you for the excellent coverage.

Is Raymond still at Oberlin?

    Mercyneal in reply to Mercyneal. | June 7, 2019 at 8:48 pm

    Meant to say Raimondo. And I see she is still at Oberlin

    TX-rifraph in reply to Mercyneal. | June 8, 2019 at 5:55 am

    If the Board of Trustees does not change membership, nothing will change except the name of the top executive. Raimondo implements policy as will her replacement.

<iWhat is the nickname for the athletic teams of Oberlin College?
The Yeomen. Female teams are styled Yeo-Women.

Purely in the interest of LBGTQ sentiments, H interests notwithstanding, I suggest Oberlin College repurpose all their athletic teams’ nicknames to ‘O-Holes.”

Screw preview.

Now pining for an “edit” button.

Brave Sir Robbin | June 7, 2019 at 9:29 pm

Oberlin’s best case for appeal is to claim the verdict is excessive. However, Oberlin is subject to a 5% interest rate on the award until the appeal is finished. That’s an extra $550,000 per year.

Bwahahahaha! This is top shelf schadenfreude. Now I’ll be praying for maximum punitive damages to deliver an even more epic and richly deserved beat down to those SJW a-holes.

Better lawyers won’t accept them as clients.

    Arminius in reply to Arminius. | June 7, 2019 at 10:05 pm

    I was replying to rdmdawg who in part commented, “Also, fire your lawyers and get better ones.”

    In fact when I was typing it the header said “Reply to: rdmdawg.”

    Then I clicked the submit button, the screen flashes at me a couple of times, and…

    it comes out as a stand-alone comment.

    I can’t explain it.

Oberlin’s tone-deaf defense seems to be just an aspect of their approach to the whole situation. All they had to do was publicly tell the truth about Gibson’s, and they couldn’t do that, weighing their moral capital with the social justice crowd to be of inestimably greater value than truth. In this whole sorry episode, Oberlin never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity, and their respect for truth as measured by their actions should not be ignored by anyone considering either employment or enrollment there.

offshoreguy | June 7, 2019 at 11:39 pm

It should not be that hard for Donica Thomas Varner to figure out the next step. Instruct the check writing department to cut a check for $11 million payable to the plaintiffs.

I guess clear thinking is not taught in law school.

A major difference between how this verdict and awards will affect Oberlin financially is athletics. Duke and UVA have major men and women’s Division 1 programs and are in the ACC. Their athletic programs produce Championships that garner significant checks to each university. It is much harder for Oberlin to play in the social justice arena when they don’t have a D-1 basketball, lacrosse, Power 5 football revenue sharing program to back their political ideologies up.

Next up: Hat tip to our old friend, Tommy Boy!

https://youtu.be/7WDKivqFOgA

PrincetonAl | June 8, 2019 at 7:36 am

Someone’s “race card” was just declined. So much for no ”pre-set” spending (name calling) limits.

This is also what I love about LI, going deep on an important issue when no one else does. I’m seeing references to this all over the Internet.

Hope you are getting a well deserved wave of traffic, Professor!

    William A. Jacobson in reply to PrincetonAl. | June 8, 2019 at 10:13 am

    “This is also what I love about LI, going deep on an important issue when no one else does.” That’s what we try to do, thanks for recognizing it.

I imagine this gives hop to those Covington students!

ObieWanKanObie | June 8, 2019 at 8:14 am

Oberlin’s pattern of behavior explained in two short (but very good) books: “SJWs Always Lie” and “SJWs Always Double Down” by Vox Day.

Oberlin will continue to push the narrative that they did absolutely nothing wrong, that they are not responsible for the actions of a few rogue students, that they did their best to keep the out-of-control students safe, that they were really acting as law enforcement, that libel is really free speech, etc. No doubt they will try to appeal on whatever grounds they possibly can.

Whether they win or lose the appeal, Oberlin will play victim and accuse Gibson’s of doing exactly the things that they are doing: Gibson’s is legally harassing Oberlin, Gibson’s has damaged Oberlin’s reputation, Gibson’s is against free speech, etc.

This is how liberal SJWs always behave. You can bet on it.

    I think it’s difficult for Oberlin to say these were rogue students without upsetting the rest of the “warriors”. Regardless of what they said at trial, wasn’t the whole point of this to support the students in their epic battle against racism? I mean, the nerve of Gibsons expecting people to pay for their merchandise and behave like the rest of us or suffer the consequences.

    Here’s hoping for a punitive damages award of $22 million.

There was a time when Oberlin set a high standard for believing in and acting on what was right. It was the first college or university in the USA to admit black students and the first to admit women. Now it supports libel and other attempts to harm a business whose positions it opposes.

tommy mc donnell | June 8, 2019 at 8:51 am

does the journalism shield protect deliberate lying by the reporters at cnn? the cnn account of the Covington catholic kids incident was a grimm bros. fairy tale of deliberate lies for the political purpose of defaming Donald trump and anyone that supports him.

I have to wonder: Who were the three shoplifters, and how did their academic careers fare? Anyone?

Justice has come to the People’s Republic of Oberlin. I hope that Gibson’s is awarded the maximum. BTW, I’ve had some of their baked goods and I think they are fantastic!

I don’t agree with Lee Plakas:
“What the jury saw is that teaching students and having them learn how to be upstanding members of the community is what colleges are supposed to do…”
These students should have learned critical thinking skills before they moved onto high school; they should have been taught not to steal before they entered kindergarten – come to think of it, how were they ever accepted into college?

    artichoke in reply to paracelsus. | June 9, 2019 at 5:41 pm

    Admissions needs a look and, likely, replacement.

    If they hire some new admissions officers from somewhere much more conservative, a place where participation in 4-H helps rather than hurts your admission, I’ll believe they have an interest in changing.

I hope the Gibson’s lawyers place that letter in evidence during the punitive damages phase.

    SHV in reply to Valerie. | June 8, 2019 at 11:17 am

    How does the punitive damages phase of the trial work? Do the opposing attys. just make
    “closing” type statements or can additional evidence be introduced to reinforce the theme of malice, no remorse, etc.?

      Valerie in reply to SHV. | June 8, 2019 at 3:22 pm

      Damages issues are triable, and subject to the usual rules of evidence. I would argue that such a letter is some evidence of intent/state of mind. Considering that punitive damages are also known as “smart money,” I would argue that Oberlin has not learned anything, yet. Due to the imbalance of wealth between the two entities, Oberlin needs something more to get its attention.

Couple random thoughts:
1. In my state, Interest at the judgment rate began the moment the judgment was docketed. Same with punitive damages. An appeal could take 18 months or more, so that’s a heap of interest piling up.
2. Gibson’s never struck me as being punitive. Now would be the best time for Oberlin to take the loss and move on with a reasonable settlement offer.
3. How much is an apology worth to Gibson’s? Initially, it’s all they wanted. 11million bucks later (and counting), Oberlin would do well on advice of counsel from their insurance company, to put this to bed before the punitives kick in. (In other words, at this Stage, the insurer is on the hook for most of the judgment) Would an apology and 6 million settle this case if an honest apology was included? I think so.

This case gets settled soon as the insurer is making the decisions. My state has an Offer of Judgment that can save the loser millions or put the onus on the client for any excess over the offer.

    Jackie in reply to Redneck Law. | June 8, 2019 at 1:08 pm

    6 million now? Gibson’s would grab it. This will go on for years before they see anything.

    Jackie in reply to Redneck Law. | June 8, 2019 at 1:08 pm

    6 million now? Gibson’s would grab it. This will go on for years before they see anything.

      Tom Servo in reply to Jackie. | June 10, 2019 at 11:13 am

      Nothing has been offered, Oberlin still think’s they’re right.

      Sometimes Total Victory over an enemy is the only choice. Well, if that’s how it goes, then that’s how it goes.

Jerrell Strawn | June 8, 2019 at 12:40 pm

God Bless America. MAGA!

smalltownoklahoman | June 8, 2019 at 1:05 pm

Story is getting a nice bit of notice: Tim Pool over on youtube is someone I watch on youtube from time to time and he’s done a video on LI’s coverage of the trial.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQBE2mLTt4s

    This story is starting to spread like wildfire–so far he has over 211,000 views of this and over 5000 comments.

    May Oberlin get all of the attention that they so richly deserve.

Extremely happy with the verdict. Can’t wait for Tuesday

Wow, professor, you hit the jackpot on this story!

    LukeHandCool in reply to Valerie. | June 8, 2019 at 3:32 pm

    Just shows that the left being for the “little guy” is an urban legend.

    Conservatives, like Professor Jacobson, are the ones who support the “little guy.”

The implications of the victory spread far beyond that dump oberlin.

If you are a victim of swamp/leftist/islamic defamation: sue.

LukeHandCool | June 8, 2019 at 5:31 pm

In the spring of 1978 I was a UCLA student. At the time my family owned and operated four stores. We offered copy and printing services and sold stationery and small office supplies. One of our stores was in Westwood Village, the area of shops, dining, and entertainment adjacent to and largely dependent on UCLA patronage.

While working seven days a week (that’s a family business for you), on days I had classes I worked in the Westwood store before going to school and after my classes ended. I had almost no life outside of work and study except for a few hours on Saturday nights.

A couple of incidents at the time opened my eyes to the extreme arrogance of a considerable segment of privileged students divorced from reality in the comfortable, rarefied university atmosphere. I considered myself a typical, left-of-center Democrat at the time. This was the very beginning of my evolution to the right.

One day I left our store for my usual 20-minute walk through the Village and onto campus to attend classes. On the way I passed by a protest of about two dozen students on the sidewalk in front of a restaurant bar I’d been to a few times. The students were holding up signs, marching back and forth, shouting the slogan, “Students will not support racism!!!”

I’d eaten in this establishment quite a few times and its employees pretty much reflected the demographics of this “college town.” It had employees of all different races. It appalled me that these students were mindlessly shouting accusations as a mob, and the business had no recourse to respond. The smug, self-righteousness in their scolding expressions as they sought to cripple this business was my first exposure in person to leftist activism that I can recall.

As someone whose father did not rely on a paycheck, but rather as someone who was personally involved via the family business in my family’s financial health, I felt sickened by the spectacle of undergrads drunk on militant moral preening and the cheap and easy power exercised through the knowledge that negative publicity can kill a small business. The students risked nothing themselves as they put this business and all who depended upon it at risk.

This business hired people of all races. So, my only guess was that some arrogant misfit was outraged that he or a friend had been fired, or that poor service by a waiter had been seen as proof of institutionalized racism. I knew immediately and instinctively, especially having patronized this business, that these students were making a mountain out of some little molehill.

Also during the spring of 1978, my father ran an ad in the UCLA Bruin. Our Westwood store offered UCLA students and faculty one-cent copies for a week. Yes, one-cent copies. Given the fact that IBM charged us almost one cent per copy for repair service on our dozens of machines (whether they needed repair or not), you can see that the more copies we made during that week, the more money we lost (factor in paper, toner, and, most importantly, our employees’ wages as well as service costs).

My dad did it for two reasons: One was to gain new, future steady customers. The second was he truly liked helping college students and he felt affection for UCLA since his son was a Bruin.

Not surprisingly, we were inundated with orders. Many of those taking advantage of this extreme sale were thankful. (Including an Econ teaching assistant I had who gave me a tip and didn’t seem to recognize me as the shy kid in one of his discussion sections.)

But even at the fire sale of one-cent copies, there were students, who uncannily resembled the type protesting the aforementioned restaurant bar, who you couldn’t please, whatsoever, who bought nothing else and who demanded more as they took advantage of a business’ loss leader.

One activist-type looking student (disheveled and extremely self-centered and self-righteous) had a meltdown of a temper tantrum when I had refused to spend a good deal of time putting his poorly aligned three-hole punched originals back in their binders.

We stipulated in the ad that the one-cent sale was for 8-1/2 x 11 originals with no staples to remove, not bound in any way, etc., which could be entered readily through the copiers’ feeder. After receiving about 5,000 copies for about $50, this self-absorbed freak threatened to complain to the UCLA Bruin and do “whatever it takes” to tarnish the reputation of our store when I told him he got his copies for one cent, which was a financial loss we gladly obliged to and incurred, but that the offer obviously didn’t include hours spent putting thousands of pages back into three-ring binders two or three pages at a time because they were so badly punched and misaligned.

I told him his originals were in the same exact order in which we received them. I told him that technically, when he dropped off his order, he should already have removed the originals from the binders when he presented them to our employee.

He left in a rage, promising I’d regret that I hadn’t given him exactly what he wanted (free labor, since he obviously knew what a hassle it would be to put the pages back in the binders, but he wanted somebody else to do it for him for free).

Seeing how some people were not happy even when they were getting a fantastic deal with fast and polite service … at a loss to the business offering the deal … and how these people seemed to think that businesses are magically immune to labor costs and the like … was an education which nothing I learned at UCLA could match.

As an Oberlin alumnus (Class of 1964) I was generally aware of this near its beginning. I followed it for a short time and paid little attention since, expecting that the College would act sensibly. This ending saddens me:

First, because of the shabby treatment of Gibson’s Bakery and the Gibsons by Oberlin students and Oberlin College;

Second, because the Student Senate, composed of students presumably at or maybe above the student body average in intelligence and probity almost instantly abandoned any inclination to thought and consideration of evidence in favor of reflexive condemnation of Gibson’s based on little or nothing more than racial stereotypes;

Third, because there obviously were too few adults among the faculty and staff to dampen the ill-considered outrage before it got out of hand;

Fourth, because the Oberlin Dean of Students apparently promoted student action against Gibson’s, participated actively in it, and is so inarticulate or so rude as to have to use foul language against opposing opinion;

Fifth, because the trustees (unmentioned in the article or its comments so far as I read them) did not, if they tried, succeed in restoring sanity;

Sixth and last for now, because after declining to negotiate a reasonable settlement of the Gibsons’ lawsuit before trial, and losing badly, the College appears to have doubled down in the email it sent to alumni (which I have not yet received and know only from this report) and seems as clueless now as before trial.

It appears the jury that a reconvene Tuesday to consider punitive damages had little doubt about the facts, and it might be that the College should rethink their position and negotiate a settlement before then. I suggest $1,035,000.00.

I will not be participating in funding the outcome, whatever it may be, beyond the contributions I made before the College settled on its similarly incomprehensible Title IX rules of engagement.

    The number in the next-to-last paragraph, for obvious reasons, was intended to be $11,035,000.00.

      artichoke in reply to [email protected]. | June 9, 2019 at 5:49 pm

      I don’t know what makes you think Gibson’s would settle for what they already have, plus $35. Are you so clueless that you don’t realize you have insulted them again?

      I liked your first post until that part. But Oberlin either admits people with a certain blind spot, or it installs it during their time at Oberlin.

“People around the country should learn from this, that you can use the legal system to right the wrongs, even if the one doing the wrong is some huge institution who thinks they can do anything they want.”

Yes, of course this case is all well & fine, but unfortunately this statement is identical to one the SJWs themselves have been pushing for decades. Read what it says, not what we’d like it to say. Its meaning all depends on what the “wrongs” are. Substitute in something like “The Patriarchy” or “Christopher Columbus” or “white people” for “wrongs” and it becomes clear what a monstrous risk this is. It’s the entire justification for the disastrous judicial abortion of “hate crimes”; and that’s just one.

For this idea to be a consistent success we must have politically neutral judges. And we know we do not have politically neutral judges. Perhaps a few . . . but that’s nowhere near enough. It’s the judge who manipulates the trial by deciding, essentially arbitrarily, which witnesses can appear, what evidence can be presented, what charges will be tried and not summarily “thrown out”, how the jury will be instructed. Consider what Judge Nelson tried to do to George Zimmerman. She failed, but it wasn’t for lack of trying. And when all else fails, a judge can screw the pooch—and do it perfectly legally—by invoking something like “emanations of penumbras.”

    Using the legal system to right wrongs often depends, as in this case, on identifying specific wrongs visited upon definite individuals by definite other individuals where, in the context, “individual” may include legal entities like partnerships or corporations.

    In much of the discussion by those classed, pejoratively, as Social Justice Warriors, at least one of those, and commonly all three, fails and often fails badly. For instance, “the patriarchy” is hopelessly non-specific. Similarly, any wrongs done by Christopher Columbus (or his crews and those who followed him closely) are related so tenuously and polluted by so many other event in the five centuries that followed that they have no genuine relation to either proposed living “victims” or those who might conceivably be tapped for compensation. That is not to say that we, now, should ignore what may be the results of such wrongs or not expend some effort or treasure to mitigate them. That task, in the US, belongs to the legislature, however. The legal system is not suited to it.

    The fact that prosecutors and judges may sometimes be carried away by popular agitation says more about them than about the legal system. The possibility, long known, is one reason that the legal system includes appellate judges and various forms of executive clemency and pardon.

      alaskabob in reply to [email protected]. | June 9, 2019 at 12:12 am

      Thurgood Marshall wanted centuries of preferential treatment using affirmative action. When the measuring rod is equality of outcome rather than equality of opportunity, there will never be satisfaction.

      “Social justice warrior” is not a pejorative, especially when addressing the “direct action” taken by the students and college in this case.

      I sense a thread of consistency, be it the class of 1964 or 2019.
      I just wish the college has used a mindset from 1964 rather than the one from now.

        I put the tipping point at about 1967, when students opposing the Vietnam war held a Navy recruiter in his car for several hours before local police dispersed the crowd with tear gas. This was a comparatively minor incident, and two other military recruiters set up shop in a college building, although without apparent student interest. As far as I know, the administration ignored it or maybe silently endorsed it.

Many others who claim to be journalists in today’s digital world have failed because they had a lot of excuses. Professor Jacobson has succeeded because he doesn’t have any. Well done, sir, you are the best. Many thanks for your outstanding coverage of the Gibson Bakery case and trial.

BobInBridgeport | June 10, 2019 at 3:50 pm

Bakery was accused of Racism for stopping 3 shoplifters !!! Of course Oberlin College, like so many other Leftist colleges, maintains that poor minorities have “the right to steal” and that it is merely “their way” of providing food for their families. I guess that they never heard of Food stamps, soup kitchens of food pantries !!!

Professor – Do we have any feeling as to when the punitive damages result will come in? The compensatory came in so fast! Is that unusual, or maybe because this case was so obvious to the jury?

The bakery should have sued Black Lives Matters…. A lot more to this story I’m sure…
If colleges want to be the institution of Ideology sickness and not responsibility, they deserve what they get.

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