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Oberlin College ordered to post $36 million bond to delay Gibson’s Bakery collection of Judgment

Oberlin College ordered to post $36 million bond to delay Gibson’s Bakery collection of Judgment

Judge granted Oberlin College’s motion to stay execution of the judgment, but required the posting of a bond in the amount of the judgment plus three years interest as security.

The compensatory and punitive damages of $25 million (after reduction for tort reform caps), plus the over $6.5 million in attorney’s fees and costs, put Oberlin College almost $32 million in debt to Gibson’s Bakery and its owners.

Absent some judicial action, the next step would have been for the Gibsons to execute on the judgment, meaning start collecting the money through post-judgment remedies, such as seizing bank accounts and physical property.

Oberlin College, which intends to appeal once post-trial motions are over, obviously doesn’t want its bank accounts, computer equipment, and er, Dean of Students’ office furniture, seized just as the freshman class was arriving. So Oberlin College filed a motion for a stay of execution of the judgment until such time as it can appeal and obtain an appeal bond.

We covered the parties’ arguments for and against in our prior post, Gibson’s Bakery: “there is serious concern about [Oberlin College’s] ability to pay this sizeable judgment three years from now”. Gibson’s Bakery devoted much of its opposition to arguing for a bond on the basis that Oberlin College was in poor financial shape:

A stay of judgment execution is not automatic under Ohio law for private litigants. Defendants do not have some absolute right to a stay of execution. Should the Court decide, in its discretion under Civ. R. 62(A), that Defendants are entitled to bond off the execution of the judgment, then Plaintiffs request that the bond be set at $36,356,711.56….

The need for such bond is made clear by the College’s own statements about its dire fmancial straits. If the College is to be believed, there is serious concern about its ability to pay this sizeable judgment three years from now. At trial, and in its recent filing, the College represented that there was only $59.1 million of unrestricted endowment funds available to pay any dollar judgment and that $10 million of those funds had already been committed to pay down the College’s existing debt. [Trial Tr., June 12, 2019 at 95:13-21] There remains $190 million of existing debt on the College’s books. [Id.] The College has also testified that it has a significant operating deficit and that its deficit situation is not sustainable…. [Trial Tr., June 12, 2019 atpp. 86:1-6, 88:1-9]

The College also testified at trial that they have experienced a “significant” and “steady” decline of enrollment from 2014 to 2018. [Trial Tr., June 12, 2019 at 79:4-17] In describing their economic position, the College offered Exhibit N-33 at trial, which is its May 10, 2019 report entitled “One Oberlin: The Academic & Administrative Program Review Final Report.” [Trial Tr., June 12, 2019 at pp. 99-100] In that Report, the College describes its alleged financial hardships and warns about how many other private colleges have had to close due to financial difficulties …[Ex. N-33, pp. 4-5].

Thus, we know that Oberlin College could attempt to continue using its available funds to pay down its other debts between now and the filing of a notice of appeal, thereby leaving less available to pay the judgment in this case.

Judge John Miraldi has ruled, entering an Order (pdf.)(full embed at bottom of post) that grants the stay of execution, but conditions it on Oberlin College posting a $36,367,711.56 bond, the full amount requested by the Gibsons. That amount includes three years of future interest.

Clearly, Ohio Civ. R. 62(A) gives the Court great discretion in determining what conditions, if any, are proper to grant a stay of execution of the judgment and to afford security to the Plaintiffs. After considering the Parties respective briefs, the attached exhibits, and applicable precedent the Court hereby orders that the judgment is stayed, as of the date of this entry, subject to the following conditions:

1) Within seven (7) days, Defendants shall post a bond in the amount of $36,367,711.56. Failure to timely post the bond shall result in the stay being terminated. Timely posting of the bond shall stay the judgment until August 19, 2019;

2) If Defendants timely file their post-trial motions on or before August 19, 2019, the stay shall be extended until September 9, 2019. Plaintiffs shall have fourteen (14) days to respond to any post-trial motions and no reply briefs shall be accepted. The Court will rule on Defendants’ motions by September 9, 2019. See Local Rule 9(/1).

While the judge did not explain the reasons behind his requiring a bond, it’s pretty clear that he accepted that there is at least some meaningful risk that the Gibsons will not be able to collect without security.

I presume Oberlin College will post the bond.

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


Gibson’s Bakery v. Oberlin College – Order Granting Stay of Judgment Execution Subject to Posting Bond by Legal Insurrection on Scribd


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Is it possible that Oberlin may not find anyone to issue a bond in the next 7 days?

This is sweeter than one of Gibson’s sweet rolls:)!

    JusticeDelivered in reply to walls. | July 24, 2019 at 8:23 pm

    Really sweat that their assertions of poverty to avoid a judgement are now being used to drive the bond process, no doubt unexpected consequences.

I presume Oberlin will post the bond too. Otherwise physical asset seizure will begin in earnest.

I didn’t feel there was any good reason to allow Oberlin to do post-trial motions and other forms of appeal without posting the bond. Unless overturned, the judgment is completely valid. No one else gets to ignore a judgment without paying a bond.

They post the bond. Okay, good. The court order doesn’t say whether sureties on the bond are required. Is there a statute requiring that?

    LKB in reply to pfg. | July 24, 2019 at 6:06 pm

    My understanding of Ohio law is that per Ohio Revised Code 2505.09, the bond must be with sufficient sureties, and per 25.5-10, the Court has to approve the sureties.

    Alternatively, Oberlin can deposit with the Clerk of the Court funds in the amount of the bond. ORC 2505.11. However, given Oberlin’s cash flow woes, I kinda doubt they have a spare $35 million they can lay their hands on in the next two weeks.

    So yes, in all likelihood Oberlin will have to buy a bond from a reputable surety company . . . which will likely require a pledge of collateral of value well in excess of the face amount of the bond, and charge a nonrefundable premium (which could be 15-20% of the face amount of the bond, or could be a monthly amount).

    And to answer the question of another commentator, no, the Gibsons don’t get any of it yet. If the judgment is affirmed, then they can collect directly from the surety (which is much easier than executing on a judgment anyway).

      dystopia in reply to LKB. | July 25, 2019 at 5:00 am

      Oberlin’s physical assets will not be very attractive to a surety company. What good is a building in the middle of a college campus. Instead Oberlin will have to pledge part of its endowment. That money will be frozen.

        DJ9 in reply to dystopia. | July 25, 2019 at 12:08 pm

        Oh, I’m not so sure about that.

        I could see folks wanting to open various businesses in that kind of location.

        I’d suggest an NRA-sponsored indoor shooting range, a coal-fired BBQ place, or perhaps a full set of Military Recruiting offices…

        jhn1 in reply to dystopia. | July 25, 2019 at 4:59 pm

        IIRC it was mentioned here that Oberlin has a large art collection that was not included in the “on the books” annual evaluation. And much (most) of the collection in unencumbered, so that could be seized to cover such a debt. Or even turned over to the bond company as surety, especially if it were set up as a show available for your museum or company (for pay of course and the other guys would then be responsible for security and maintenance/upkeep costs.)
        Losing and additional 5-8.5 Million dollars to avoid paying now seems stupid unless they think they can reduce the suit by more than that or even altogether. That total avoidance could be either win or maybe avoid the judgement by bankrupting the College with other creditors having prior claim to assets.

        And I do see Oberlin Administration and faculty as the type to figuratively burn the house down before foreclosure and then stir up the SJW mob and blame the mortgage holder over the smoldering rubble.

Out of curiosity: I assume the bond costs Oberlin a significant fee, but does it also pay Gibson’s directly? Without the bond, Gibson’s would have to pursue Oberlin for payment. Does the bond now pay Gibson’s directly f Oberlin loses its appeal?

    The Gibsons don’t get anything immediately from a bond. If the appeal is unsuccessful (or isn’t pursued), then they can collect directly from the surety.

    One variant on this (which I have used for a client who obtained a substantial judgment in federal court) is to have the parties enter into a contract whereby the plaintiff agrees not to execute on the judgment, the defendant pays the plaintiff a sum of money that plaintiff gets to keep regardless of the outcome of the case (typically, about what the supersedeas bond premium would be, but applied to the judgment if the appeal is unsuccessful), and defendant gives the plaintiff a security interest in certain property with a value in excess of the judgment that’s conditioned on the failure of the appeal.

    It’s a win-win: in economic substance, the defendant effectively gets a bond but the cost of it is applied to reducing the amount of the judgment, and the plaintiff gets some cash immediately that it gets to keep regardless of the outcome of the case.

    It’s common sense . . . which of course means Oberlin would never agree to something like this!

    Tom Servo in reply to stablesort. | July 24, 2019 at 6:35 pm

    My understanding is that Bonds are posted with the Court, in an escrow account.

      More likely that the court would authorize placement with an escrow agent.

      Cash bonds (a deposit of money in lieu of a surety bond) are held in the registry of the court — not formally an escrow account, but it functions like one.

      A surety bond, on the other hand, is just a surety’s promise to pay the amount of the judgment if the appeal is unsuccessful. It’s filed with the Court, but it’s not “escrowed” — it’s just a conditional promise to pay.

    artichoke in reply to stablesort. | July 24, 2019 at 11:57 pm

    They don’t get the money immediately, but they’re getting 5% on their money which is more than Treasury bonds or other fixed income investments would pay. They can’t live off the income though because it’s all held up pending the appeal.

    So I hope Gibsons can survive there a bit longer, and surely relations with Oberlin staff and students will be frosty at best going forward.

So basically another $3.6M (10%) just goes poof when the bond is issued? I guess they are banking on a Dem president swooping in and nullifying it all in a couple of years. In the meantime, the local stores should stock up on kool-aid because this is going to take a lot before it is over.

What would be offered as collateral to the bond issuer?

    walls in reply to Whitewall. | July 24, 2019 at 5:45 pm

    How about a dinner date with Twillie, a private viewing of Raimondo’s tats, a wine tasting event with Aladin, and a one-on-one legal discussion and e-mail tutorial session with Varner.

    [ok, I’ll stop being so silly:)]

    OleDirtyBarrister in reply to Whitewall. | July 24, 2019 at 6:15 pm

    The bond underwriter.

    And the collateral required would be in the discretion of the surety. Obviously, it would want collateral not previously pledged to other lenders.

    The college would likely have real property, personal property such as paintings, financial deposits, equipment, and fixtures, and future personal property such as cashflow to pledge.

stevewhitemd | July 24, 2019 at 5:38 pm

Not clear whether this also is the appeals bond that Oberlin would have to post while the expected appeals go forward, or whether this is just to get them to September 9th. If only that then I’d expect the cost to them of the bond itself (other than the pledge to the bond-issuer that they have $36M) will be modest.

Perhaps the Professor or a commenter could walk us through this process?

    artichoke in reply to stevewhitemd. | July 25, 2019 at 12:05 am

    From my reading of the order this one is just thru Sept. 9.

    Defendants’ motion requests that the Court stay execution of the judgment pending resolution of their anticipated
    Civ. R50 59 and 60 post-trial motions

    Defendants have not yet filed an appeal. If/when they do, surely there would be an appeal bond too, right? Wouldn’t the judge just set the appeal bond so the existing bond can roll over into the appeal bond?

    But bond in the case of a not-yet-filed appeal is not covered in today’s order.

Richard Aubrey | July 24, 2019 at 5:41 pm

Insurance companies avoid losing their shirt by charging extra for higher-risk vehicles.
In this case, the practical likelihood that Oberlin will be able to pay the judgment factors into the premium. Oberlin’s crying poor–about unrestricted endowment monies–might be taken seriously by the actuaries.
So what’s the auto insurance premium for a guy with two DUI?

It seems surprising that Oberlin would post the bond, which includes interest, if its financial position and cash flow are really an issue. In other words they have to come up with more cash in the short term. I don’t see how Oberlin can really hope to prevail and this just inflates the future judgement to include the interest. Maybe they’re betting on a reduction of the judgement in the future?

Ohio-based Oberlin College is pricing $82 million of taxable bonds to replace direct placement bonds sold in 2009 and 2014 as it looks to right its financial ship with lackluster enrollment continuing to pressure its finances.

Oberlin, which has been battling tuition revenue declines as a result of a drop in students attending the college, said the bonds will be structured as fixed-rate bonds that will eliminate exposure to bank risk, covenant risk, put remarketing risk and tax risk.

    artichoke in reply to fresca. | July 25, 2019 at 12:10 am

    If I were somehow a contributor to that Oberlin operation, I would no longer be after hearing they were bonding rather than paying and right-sizing. The bonding just means the pain will be spread out over decades.

    But it’s the natural reaction, so everyone gets to keep their jobs and their power at the college.

OleDirtyBarrister | July 24, 2019 at 6:24 pm

Even in the absence of a supersedeas bond, a plaintiff and its counsel must be very cautious about making a move on judgment enforcement before all appeals are concluded.

This order puts Gibson’s in a better position to negotiate with the college to provide it a path to put the matter behind it and keep its fancy shirt on.

Gibson’s could negotiate some serious changes from the college in addition to cash compensation on a payment schedule. For example, demand the resignation of the president, VP’s, and board of trustees and replacement with others; a formal, written statement acknowledging the college did wrong and the Gibsons did nothing wrong and apologizing on behalf of the college and the students; a written commendation that students should not boycott the business or disparage the Gibsons; and written policies requiring college personnel to refrain SJW and protest activities like they undertook in this instance; make the college pledge its art collection as collateral for payment of the promissory note with a security agreement and security interest along with an insurance policy naming the Gibsons as co-insureds.

I think it would be fun to be counsel for the plaintiffs in torturing Oberlin and negotiating [forcing] a settlement.

Oberlin desperately needs to invoke the latest and greatest settlement techniques being hawked by speakers on dispute resolution issues and replace all lawyers and personnel involved with the pre-trial and trial activities with a settlement team and place all the other, aforementioned persons in the peanut gallery as advisers and to answer questions only.

    artichoke in reply to OleDirtyBarrister. | July 25, 2019 at 12:14 am

    Why doesn’t Oberlin just sit tight and wait to collect its judgment? Oberlin would make it pay dearly for these sorts of PR stunts that obviously would mean nothing.

    I’d advise Oberlin (if I were its lawyer, and I am not even a lawyer at all) to propose no such nonsense and never to expect Oberlin to repent, nor to give them any opportunity to do so.

    The minute that Oberlin refused to call off the students, there was no possibility of real reconciliation in this lifetime. Gibson’s shouldn’t give up a penny fooling themselves.

      artichoke in reply to artichoke. | July 25, 2019 at 12:14 am

      Erm, I mean why doesn’t Gibson’s just sit tight …

      OleDirtyBarrister in reply to artichoke. | July 25, 2019 at 12:16 pm

      Since you have no education or experience pertinent to the matter, you have never tried a case and obtained a judgment, you have never retained a verdict and judgment through appeal or had them revered, and you have never enforced a judgment through levy and garnishment you should probably just read. And exercise your right to remain silent rather than posting dumb shit.

      Enforcing a judgment is harder than you will ever know because there are these things called contractual liens that arise from financing arrangement with banks, finance cos., etc. and they lead to lien priority issues and impede the ability to just walk in an collect money. In addition, there are state and federal laws that restrict the enforcement of judgments. Then there is the issue of a judgment debtor’s finances and ability to pay with liquid assets, the lack of knowledge of a lot of law enforcement on levying (particularly on personal property), a reluctance by the to do the unfamiliar, and the obstacles they throw up in terms of making one prove clear title and possession by the debtor, the storage and bonding issues while chattel is possessed pending sale, and the commissions and fees charged.

      Since you know absolutely nothing of the foregoing, you have no advice to offer the Gibsons’ attorneys or anyone else.

        artichoke in reply to OleDirtyBarrister. | July 26, 2019 at 4:07 pm

        Do courts require appellants to provide an accounting of such things to the court and to the party that won at trial, so that these risks can be assessed?

        I can look down that list, I know what a lien is and some other things too, and I would guess Oberlin has plenty that can be seized. Oberlin is a much deeper pocket than most that you have tried to collect judgments from and, while doubtless complex, has many years of successful operations. They are surely worth more than $35,000 (the valuation their expert put on Gibson’s), or even $35 million.

        But rather than guessing, somebody’s going to have the power and the incentive to know these matters — maybe the bonding company that may have to collect from Oberlin if the appeals are unsuccessful.

OleDirtyBarrister | July 24, 2019 at 6:33 pm

I meant to add that the reason the plaintiff and counsel must be cautious is a court could always reverse the verdict and vacate the judgment.

Verdicts in defamation cases are reversed with appreciable frequency. Moreover, the size of the verdicts and punitive damages are reduced on appeal with even more frequency that verdicts are reversed. Thus, the plaintiff takes a risk in levying or garnishing or having a receiver appointed.

    artichoke in reply to OleDirtyBarrister. | July 25, 2019 at 12:16 am

    Do you work for Oberlin?

    Reversal of the verdict would require a reversible error in the trial. Do you have one to suggest?

    On what grounds would you recalculate damages downward? Can appeals courts reduce punitive damages, and why?

      OleDirtyBarrister in reply to artichoke. | July 25, 2019 at 12:09 pm

      The internet has an affect on people to pretend to be an expert and open their mouths to demonstrate ignorance. You have the right to remain silent but not the ability.

      You said above you are not an attorney, so you obviously have no knowledge that would inform an intelligent opinions. You have two eyes, two ears, and one mouth for a reason. You should read and learn and keep your thoughts to yourself.

      I am an attorney and I know how this works and how many things can go wrong in a trial, and I also know the statistical odds. So go pound sand.

        Since you are an attorney and have experience in this area, what is your best educated guess for how this will play out, ie, what is the end game here?

        artichoke in reply to OleDirtyBarrister. | July 26, 2019 at 4:11 pm

        Your use of “affect” as a noun in your first sentence makes no sense. Replace it with “affection” to see that.

        You still didn’t answer whether you work for Oberlin.

Oberlin had previously stated to the court that they would have difficulty paying the award. If that is the case they were ould have greater difficulty in paying the award plus interest. In this case they were hanged by their own arguments.

Excellent. Makes delaying tactics expensive. Good for the judge.

I have to say I am quite pleased with the court in this entire saga. We usually wind up with some travesty that makes one ashamed of our judicial system.

In this case this has played out quite righteously. Kudos to everyone.

    artichoke in reply to jakee308. | July 25, 2019 at 12:18 am

    Yeah, but apparently Oberlin’s just going to bond it so that it has minimal effect now, just lingering effect for decades into the future.

Surety bonds run 3-6% if your credit is good. The commission can run as high as 20%.

I would LOVE to be the agent writing this bond!

    OnPoint in reply to Andy. | July 25, 2019 at 9:20 am

    But Oberlin’s credit cant be good. They have been complaining to the court about their financial situation. I have no idea what Oberlin’s actual credit rating is, but it can’t be that great.

      jhn1 in reply to OnPoint. | July 25, 2019 at 5:07 pm

      It probably was….. ..until they filed with the court how bad their financial situation actually was. That means the accounting firm was using bad methodology or was incompetent to issue the report they did 7 months ago.

any idea how much in charges Oberlin and the legal team have paid and are the hook for to Lorain County?
The college will have to budget a few million more for their legal bills and maybe double that if they lose the appeal and are stuck with Gibson’s legal bills. We may be surpassing 40m over three bottles of wine.

    Ohio Skeptic in reply to buck61. | July 31, 2019 at 2:45 pm

    I posted below that I have read that their, Oberlin’s, attorneys had in the range of 15,500 hours invested in the case (rough rounding … about 1000 more hours than the Gibson’s attorneys – which is probably why Oberlin didn’t make any serious argument that Gibson’s Attorneys had too much time in the case).

    Oberlin College’s law firm is a BIG firm, and those don’t come cheap, so at the low end their legal fees (almost certain to be at hourly rates) are pushing $4,000,000 so far (most likely area) but they could be as high as $6,000,000 (less likely – it isn’t NYC) … and that does NOT include the additional time that will be involved with the Post Trial Motions or an Appeal. (say Oberlin will be billed another $500,000 to $1,000,000).

    I doubt that a full reversal of the Decision is in order, but if such were to occur and the case sent back for a retrial, well add another $1 to $2 million to Oberlin’s attorneys fees.

    Clearly Oberlin could have settled early on for MUCH less than they have incurred in their legal costs. Arrogance has it’s costs.

Oberlin is at $36.5M at the moment. With Bond, 3 yrs interest, and at least one and possibly two sets of additional legal bills, I could see them hitting $50M before it is all over. And of course the largest hit, having to keep Raimondo around for appearances sake. All of the principals have it in their own interests to keep it going as long as possible since they are likely toast in the job market when it is done. And this children, is why raising kids without using the word “no” is a bad thing. Oberlin is going to resemble, oh, Berlin when it is finished.

    artichoke in reply to MajorWood. | July 25, 2019 at 2:10 am

    36.5 mil includes 3 years’ interest.

      MajorWood in reply to artichoke. | July 25, 2019 at 11:01 am

      36.5M is 25M + 6.5M (plaintiff legal) + 5M (defense legal). Even if Oberlin won outright at this point, they’d still need to explain to the alumni donors why they chose to go scorched earth with a $5M legal campaign against a beloved family bakery. I swear, these clowns have been subsisting on Kool-Aid for the last 3 years, maybe longer.

        artichoke in reply to MajorWood. | July 26, 2019 at 5:47 pm

        Beloved? I think they were business people, charging what the traffic would bear. Hence the complaints about $12 bottles of tylenol or something.

        That’s why Gibsons put up with Oberlin students for all those generations, who can’t have been the easiest customers even in better days. That’s why Gibson’s held onto that location. Because it was profitable.

        This is absolutely legal and gives the students nor Oberlin any rights to commit torts in return, obviously. But I imagine the alumni have general OK feelings about Gibson’s, not mad passion.

    Is the 3-5% bond interest in addition to the ~5% interest that will eventually go to Gibson? If so, then Oberlin is on the hook for another ~$10 million (commission + interest) for the bond; seems the tab is rapidly headed north to $50 million. Seems like the logical thing would be to admit error, offer an apology and negotiate an immediate payout that is less than the awarded amount.

      MajorWood in reply to SHV. | July 25, 2019 at 1:37 pm

      Logic has no place with them, it’s the feels. I stopped following the Alumni magazine 10 years ago when it became obvious which direction the college was heading. The whole of the admin had become Obama sycophants and it is easy to see how they were likely more affected by the election than the students.

      Still amazed that they published this: “After leafing through the Winter 2009-2010 issue, I decided to write and suggest that the title be changed to the Obama Alumni Magazine to more accurately reflect the recent content.”

This story keeps getting sweeter and sweeter. Let this be a Severe Lesson to all the Lunatic LibTurds that IF/When you F**K with us we WILL take you to court and WIN Big Time !!!!

Wonderful news! A victory over Leftwing Hate. Let this be a lesson to other fake “Colleges’ that don’t teach, but indoctrinate and propagandize their helpless students. The Left is crashing, from DC to CA. Oberlin deserves to go bankrupt and Leftists deserve to face the consequences of their hate.

“Seems like the logical thing would be to admit error, offer an apology and negotiate an immediate payout that is less than the awarded amount.”

Apparently, this is what Oberlin is still expecting Gibsons to do. /s

    walls in reply to MajorWood. | July 25, 2019 at 2:40 pm

    The time for negotiation has long past. Attorney Plakas must be enjoying this chess game … he’s like a fisherman with 50-pound test line playing with a 10-pound fish.

      jb4 in reply to walls. | July 25, 2019 at 3:18 pm

      I disagree. There is non-zero risk that Gibson’s could lose on appeal altogether and greater risk the award could be reduced. In other words, Plakas has nothing to gain and a lot he could lose. Having the award plus punitive damages cut by $5-10M would not surprise me, as I thought the basic award was high. In fact, expecting to be able to get a reduction in the dollars seems to be the only plausible reason for Oberlin to appeal, with a complete reversal an unlikely and unexpected bonus if it were to occur.

        jhn1 in reply to jb4. | July 25, 2019 at 6:02 pm

        Well the cost of the bond $5-8.5M and the cost of the second defense (while some few parts cannot be done twice, most can and with a more expensive legal team) spending at least another $5M…
        .. On a roll of the dice that might reduce the payout.
        Unless they have some inside information (crooked Judge #2 will hear the case and is willing to be bribed) or are willing to lose everything to not pay Gibson’s (quite likely) anything…

        This means someone is still telling, and convincing, the decision-makers they have a winning case.

        artichoke in reply to jb4. | July 27, 2019 at 5:36 pm

        My understanding is that appeals deal with questions of law, not of fact. The compensatory damages would be matters of fact. So I don’t see how those would get adjusted in an appeal.

        Punitive damages seemed to be assessed conservatively based on them.

I assume that Gibson’s does not want to be the one to put Oberlin College out of business. Perhaps they could reach an agreement to take an amount in cash sufficient to rebuild their business, with the balance of the award being pledged back to the college with lots of strings attached. How about endowing the Gibson’s Bakery Institute for Political Freedom or some such, with strict provisos about the principles that the institute is to promote? If the award is such a large proportion of Oberlin’s available endowment, it could conceivably put Oberlin out of the grievance-mongering business.

    Strelnikov in reply to MtlLawyer. | July 25, 2019 at 6:19 pm

    How little you know of human nature.

    Vengeance is mine, saith the Gibson Bakery.

    artichoke in reply to MtlLawyer. | July 26, 2019 at 5:52 pm

    Oberlin is going to the market with a bond issue. So they can pay, then pay back later. Oberlin won’t want to go out of business. All those employees want to keep their jobs and lives and even prestige. This won’t put Oberlin out of business.

    The Gibson’s shouldn’t waste a moment’s thought about the risk of putting them out of business nor of “splitting the difference” with them. Oberlin surely didn’t.

    The time to give back a token amount to seal the deal is far far in the future, if at all. You beat the %^&* out of the counterparty, then as they’re bloody lying on the floor you give them a fig leaf to make them feel better about capitulating, if it gets to that point.

    They are nowhere near that point now. We even have lawyer shills on this board trying to get Oberlin to give up big chunks of their judgment for this reason or that. As Ambar said, the game is still has far to go.

    MajorWood in reply to MtlLawyer. | July 27, 2019 at 12:40 pm

    If Oberlin goes out of business, then it is the sole responsibility of Oberlin for that outcome. The trial with Gibsons was merely a stepping stone on that path. Oberlin brought all of this on themselves. I considered several analogies, and while none were ideal, I am going to go with a card game. Oberlin was bored, saw a card game going on, and decided to join in. They had a big wad of cash, saw themselves as adept at playing the race card, and saw the much less sophisticated Gibsons Bakery as an easy mark. But for anyone who has watched Texas Hold’em, we know that even though the hidden cards might be a pair of 2’s, they can still affect the outcome. Oberlin became bolder as face cards appeared, and at each ante decided to double down figuring that they could just make Gibsons fold, as they saw Gibsons figuratively borrowing from friend to stay in (contingent counsel). Oberlin had chips galore and was likely figuring that a big win would attract a lot of publicity. Plus, they were clearly snarter than those deplorebles they were up against. But when all was revealed after Gibsons was forced to go all-in, it was found that those three 2’s beat the 2 pair of queens and jacks held by Oberlin. Oh the shock and horror. Immediately Oberlin went to the press to announce that they had been playing rummy (first amendment) all along and therefore had the better hand. But that didn’t change the fact that they were now on the hook, their friends were abandoning them, and that they had yet to tell “the wife” (alumni) what had happened during their little adventure. And as expected, people are now asking Gibson’s to forgive the IOU because it could ruin Oberlin’s business and family. Yes, that would be magnanimous of Gibsons, but we must also remember that Oberlins intent all along was to crush the little guy and to steamroller them with legal shenanigans. That was clear to the jury and is becoming clearer to more and more people as Oberlin continues to now drag their own name through the mud.

    If not poker, then Oberlin is just as likely to be like that idgit in Georgia who repeatedly came after the two police officers with a knife until he was shot, and then came back after another one who was trying to taser him rather than use his service weapon, which resulted in the idgit’s fatality. Oberlin is like the idgit, who either did not understand or obey the order to stand down. Despite repeated warnings, actually more like pleadings, and opportunities to back down, they plowed forth. The Gibsons are like the police. They were forced into that outcome by the idgit. And as expected, to a small but vocal group of “do-gooders,” the police will be criticized for what happened and the idgit will be seen as the victim. But the rest of us see it for what it really was, the idgit got himself shot. And that is how I look upon my alma mater. At some point they became either an arrogant card shark or just a misguided idgit. And in either role, they ceased to function as a useful member of society by their own hand.

    If Oberlin chooses to pursue this to the bitter end, they could likely cease to exist. By then, though, they will have ceased to be a useful part of society, as we have witnessed with their decline over the years. And their absence will affect those around them, but at no point should we lose sight that it was they who brought it upon themselves. They chose to step on Gibsons on their climb to relevancy, and Gibsons said “not today.” Oberlin is responsible for ALL of their problems, period.

      artichoke in reply to MajorWood. | July 27, 2019 at 5:44 pm

      They didn’t see the danger because they’re not (at this time, with this management) all that smart. They were used to winning by bullying. Their administrators probably have a string of victories of that sort, race card etc., in their previous roles. That made them think they were good at this stuff.

      Their in-house counsel may be the sort that never went to court, always settled. The outside lawyer loves the fees and knows Oberlin has deep enough pockets to pay them even more. Ambar, an attorney herself, doesn’t seem too in-touch with the legal issues, expecting a civil-rights approach (where she’ll always get something and the opponent will be scared to death) rather than private litigation.

      Actually they didn’t understand the law very well and I still wonder if they don’t. Those factual issues they laughingly bypassed during the trial are GONE, the appeals process can’t touch them.

For those of you struggling with the appeal bond issue, my experience here in the real world, having filed many, is that bonding companies routinely require a surety of equal value to the bond amount, in this case $33m, plus a premium percentage based on that value. No one will do this for a premium only, as the bond guarantees payment to the Gibsons for the full amount should Oberlin default on that payment.

Don’t be surprised if an anonymous do gooder (coughSteyercoughSoroscough) helps them out. Otherwise, Obelon is fucked, royally

There is no point in being magnanimous to Oberlin. They would just see it as a validation of their sanctimonious superiority. I’m sorry to say that but it’s true.

Perhaps if they went out of business those buildings could be used for more constructive purposes.

Publius_2020 | July 25, 2019 at 10:19 pm

Despite Oberlin’s whining in the trial phase, the college financial statements indicate that they can pay this without much difficulty. The unrestricted endowment is well over $100 million, and they maintain a fairly large liquidity factor if you include 30 and 90 day instruments. All the details here:

They have to decide whether to (A) liquidate investments and pay the cash into the court, or (B) pledge the investments and have a surety post a bond (which will cost them a hefty premium, but also allow them to make money on the investments over the next few years). Because of the way colleges budget and plan, I would expect them to choose (B), but they are very capable of just putting up cash.

If the college posts the bond it should show up as a docket entry here:

With luck they fold and Bowling Green State University (the nearest state school) gets a new branch campus perhaps.

    Ohio Skeptic in reply to coyote6. | July 30, 2019 at 11:47 pm

    Overall Oberlin’s endowment is over $900,000,000 (per the trial reporting), so Oberlin is NOT going to be shutting down in the near future.

    What they do have is a problem with having enough UNRESTRICTED Endowment money with which to pay the Gibson judgement and the upcoming cash flow losses they will suffer this next year, and probably next year, due to declining enrollment.

Past Blast
Few have mentioned the Christiana Hoff Summers kerfuffle.
Oberlin deserves to disappear.

    MajorWood in reply to tz. | July 29, 2019 at 1:01 pm

    One of the petition signers was our dear girl Della.

    I guess she got a job with Oberlin after graduation since her employment prospects were no doubt limited after that email.

    Note time stamps on emails. Justice was not delayed that day.

Ohio Skeptic | July 30, 2019 at 11:34 pm

Oberlin’s OWN legal fees:

It may have been commented on somewhere in one of the LI threads, but there is a report out there that so far Oberlin’s attorneys have put in about 15,500 hours of work. Their defense firm is a BIG law firm, and those firms do not come cheap.

I estimate that Oberlin’s own legal bills in this case probably are at minimum another $4,000,000 (most likely area), and could be as high as $6,000,000 (less likely) … WITH the Post Trial Motions and Appeals billings yet to come. (say another $500,000 to $1,000,000 to come).

For less than they have been billed by THEIR attorneys, so far, they probably could have settled this case long ago with the Gibsons. Alas, arrogance has a cost.

Big picture message: Universities that attempt to be agents of progressive agendas better have very deep pockets for the consequences of the harm they cause.