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Judge denies Oberlin College’s request to unseal Gibson Bakery store clerk’s Facebook records

Judge denies Oberlin College’s request to unseal Gibson Bakery store clerk’s Facebook records

Gibson’s Bakery attorneys: “Defendants’ sole motive in seeking to unseal the [Facebook records of non-party Allyn D. Gibson] is to continue the smear on Plaintiffs’ name and brand. They should not be permitted to do so.”

There have been many strange motions and actions in the Gibson’s Bakery v. Oberlin College case. A post-trial motion by Oberlin College to unseal Facebook records may be one of the more strange developments, and offers a window into the bitter feelings of college officials.

Allyn D. Gibson (Allyn D.) is the grandson of plaintiff Allyn W. Gibson (“Allyn W.”) and the son of plaintiff David Gibson. Allyn D., who was not a party in the lawsuit, was the store clerk on duty who caught an Oberlin College student shoplifting.

The scuffle that ensued, involving two additional Oberlin College students, resulted in (1) the arrest (and later conviction) of the three students, and (2) protests and boycotts, and the alleged defamation of the bakery and its owners by Oberlin College and Dean of Students Meredith Raimondo.

During the case, Allyn D.’s Facebook records were subpoenaed by Oberlin College, and had to be maintained in a confidential manner under a discovery agreement. The documents were then filed under seal by Oberlin College as part of its summary judgment motion as Exhibit G. The summary judgment motion was granted in part and denied in part, with the key claims surviving for trial.

In a pre-trial ruling, the court held the Facebook records could not be used as character evidence, but the court left open that if trial testimony made the records relevant, defendants could attempt to introduce them at trial. Allyn D. never testified at the trial, and defendants never offered the Facebook records as exhibits during the trial.

To put it mildly, the case did not go the way Oberlin College hoped.  There were two verdicts: $11 million compensatory damages rendered on June 7, 2019, and $33 million in punitive damages rendered on June 13, 2019, after a separate punitive damages trial. The combined $44 million was reduced by the Court under Ohio’s tort caps to just over $25 million. The Court also awarded over $6.5 million in legal fees and costs against defendants on top of the damages. Defendants were required to post a $36 million bond to secure the judgment pending appeal.

[Allyn D. Gibson — second from left –after jury compensatory verdict][Photo credit: Legal Insurrection Foundation]

After the verdicts, there were numerous motions, all denied by the court, including a motion for a new trial and a motion for judgment notwithstanding the trial. Those motion are routine, and necessary for defendants to preserve issues for appeal.

But on August 28, 2019, Oberlin College also filed a Motion to Unseal Exhibit G (pdf.) — Allyn D.’s Facebook records:

Defendants Oberlin College and Meredith Raimondo (“Defendants”) move to unseal portions of their summary judgment reply brief in accordance with well-settled law confirming that court records should in almost all circumstances be public, especially where those records form the basis of an adjudication of the merits of a case. Defendants bring this motion now for three reasons: (1) to correct Plaintiffs’ improper designation of documents as “confidential” under the parties’ Stipulated Protective Order (“SPO”); 1 (2) to comply with Ohio’s strong presumption that court documents be made available to the public; and (3) to eliminate unnecessary burdens required by the SPO to additional court filings or proceedings.

Defendants ask the Court to fix the double standard that currently exists in the public’s access to the summary judgment record. The Court previously ordered that internal Oberlin College emails, private text messages sent and received on the personal cell phones of administrators and faculty, and content from the personal Facebook accounts of Oberlin professors should be unsealed.2 In contrast, portions of Defendants’ Combined Reply Brief in Support of Their Motions for Summary Judgment (“Defendants’ Combined Reply”) remain under seal, including the entirety of EXHIBIT G to the affidavit of Cary M. Snyder (“EXHIBIT G”), which consists of materials from the Facebook account of Allyn D. Gibson (“Allyn Jr.”).3

That last point seems to be what is motivating the motion, the hope that the public playing field could be leveled if presumably embarrassing Facebook posts were released to be used as part of Oberlin College’s post-trial public relations effort.

In response to Defendants’ motion to compel-and following Plaintiffs’ muddled and incomplete production of documents in November 2018 on behalf of Allyn Jr.-the Court on February 21, 2019, ordered Plaintiffs to produce a forensic image of Allyn Jr.’s Facebook account (the “Forensic Image”). 5 The Forensic Image contains more than 300,000 files and, upon production, Plaintiffs designated the entire Forensic Image as “confidential” under the SPO because they did not have time to review its contents prior to production and they were concerned about the inclusion of material of a romantic nature.6

Defendants narrowed the content of the Forensic Image to just 35 pages that they planned to use as EXHIBIT Gin support of their Combined Reply. The documents in EXHIBIT G consist almost entirely of Allyn Jr. ‘s views-in his own words-concerning minorities, how Gibson’s Bakery treats its customers, and his awareness that the Bakery has a history—dating to at least 2012-ofbeing accused of racial profiling and discrimination. Of the 35 pages in EXHIBIT G, 34 pages consist ofFacebook messages, the functional equivalent of text messages or emails that the Court already ordered must be unsealed. The remaining page is a post from Allyn Jr. to his Facebook friends….

The attorneys for the Gibson’s focused on this apparently desire for retribution in their Opposition to the Motion to Unseal Exhibit G (pdf.):

For the following reasons, Defendants’ Motion must be denied:

• First, the true purpose of Defendants’ Motion is to seek permission to facilitate an abuse of process and invasion of a non-party’s privacy. During trial, Defendants made no effort to offer the Confidential Materials, which are from a private social media account, into evidence. Unhappy with the jury’s verdict, Defendants now seek to exploit these materials obtained pursuant to a subpoena on a non-party in a further effort to harass and smear the Gibson family and brand;

• Second, the Court preliminarily determined the Confidential Materials were inadmissible at trial, other than as alleged evidence regarding Plaintiffs’ reputations. But Defendants did not even attempt to introduce the Confidential Materials at trial and thereby waived any argument that these materials were admissible. Because summary judgment briefs may only rely on evidence that is admissible at trial and Defendants failed to preserve an argument that the materials were admissible at trial, Defendants could not have relied upon the Confidential Materials during summary judgment and the same should be kept under seal as inadmissible evidence;

• Third, Defendants have waived their right to challenge the designation of the Confidential Materials because they waited over six (6) months since they received the documents and after the parties have fully tried this case to a Lorain County jury before filing their Motion; and

• Finally, Defendants’ Motion fails to show how the balancing test in Adams v. Metallica, Inc., 143 Ohio App.3d 482, 758 N.E.2d 286 (1st Dist.2001) (which the Court adopted within its April 3, 2019 Entry and Ruling as the applicable test for determining whether to remove confidential designations) favors unsealing the Confidential Materials.

Addressing that lead point, the Gibsons’ counsel wrote:

It appears that Defendants are using their Motion as an improper collateral attack on the jury’s verdict. In essence, because Defendants are unhappy with the jury’s decision, they are seeking to unseal ADG’s private social media account, so they are able to publish these documents to the media without threat of the Court’s contempt power in an effort to continue the smear and defamation of Plaintiffs’ name and brand. Defendants’ attempted abuse of process should not be permitted.

* * *

Defendants’ sole motive in seeking to unseal the Confidential Materials is to continue the smear on Plaintiffs’ name and brand. They should not be permitted to do so.

The Court denied Oberlin College’s motion, focusing not on alleged bad motives, but waiver by failing to offer the documents at trial. The Court Order Denying Motion to Unseal Exhibit G (pdf.)(full embed at bottom of this post) provides in pertinent part (emphasis added):

Here, the Defendants are asking the Court, post-judgment, to unseal Exhibit G lo their March 22, 2019 Combined Reply Brief in Support of Summary Judgment. The exhibit is comprised entirely of material from non-party Allyn D. Gibson’s Facebook account that largely pre-dates the events giving rise to the above-captioned matter. As noted by the Plaintiffs, this material was the subject of one of Plaintiffs’ pre-trial motions in limine. Specifically, on May 8, 2019, the Court issued a preliminary ruling excluding the presentation of Allyn D. Gibson’s Facebook content as character evidence, but withheld ruling on the question of whether it could be introduced to reflect the reputation of Gibson’s Bakery in the community. At trial, the Defendants made no attempt to introduce these materials as evidence of the Bakery’s reputation in the community. With this procedural context and at this juncture, the Court is not persuaded by the Defendants’ arguments that it should make a post-trial order regarding materials that the Defendants opted to file under seal nearly six months ago in accordance with an agreed protective order that they drafted and stipulated to.

For the foregoing reasons, the Defendants’ Motion to Unseal Exhibit G of · Defendants’ Combined Summary Judgment Reply Brief is hereby denied.

While the Court didn’t need to, and didn’t, go there, this belated post-trial attempt to embarrass a Gibson family member by releasing confidential Facebook information does reflect Oberlin College’s overall attitude towards the Gibsons. As detailed in the recent post regarding failed settlement discussions, Oberlin College since day-one has attacked and maligned the Gibsons. It’s so baked into the Oberlin College approach that the college can’t seem to shake it even after the trial.

[Featured Image: Allyn D. Gibson via Oberlin Police Body Cam]


Gibson’s Bakery v. Ober… by Legal Insurrection on Scribd


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Considering the jury verdict and award I think we can stop modifying “defamation” by placing the word “alleged” in front of it.

I would like to see what they have to say but understand the defense’s job as attorneys to protect their clients (in this case, the brand and business).

I think they are a nothingburger and they would be subject to a Trump-esque dog whistle listening competition between media types. If substantive, there would be an oopsie release out there.

The internet is forever and the people that know how to get to that stuff could easily get to it…it’s not as though the Gibson’s have access to or expertise with Hillary-type tools, and it’s not like facebook would be willing to go to those lengths for the Gibson’s anyways.

    Tom Servo in reply to healthguyfsu. | September 25, 2019 at 11:05 am

    I disagree – why should his facebook posts, whatever they were, have any relevance? He was not named as a party to this case, he was not called as a witness in the case, the Jury never heard anything from him – so why bring this up now?

    This information, no matter what it is, literally has nothing at all to do with this case, as it was litigated, and therefore the only reason the defendants may wish to bring it up is to attack the integrity of the Juries decision. This is why the judicial system allows some records to be permanently sealed from public view, to stop this abuse from happening.

      MajorWood in reply to Tom Servo. | September 25, 2019 at 1:19 pm

      OK, so part of me sees this as a last ditch attempt by the Oberlin legal team to cloud this issue in terms of public perception. They know the case is lost in the real court, but are hoping to make some gains in the fake court of public opinion. They can claim that there is evidence of racism on the part of young Allyn, but the court is preventing it from being made public, which would exonerate them from the civil judgement. I suspect though, that they will have misjudged this tactic as poorly as they misjudged the entire legal strategy from the get-go. I bet it will be one of Twillie’s top talking points as she attempts to spin the outcome of the trial away from the massive cluster&*%# that they created all on their own, with no one else to blame but themselves, and of course, the victims. That is, if she even bothers to mention “the trial” when she meets with alumni over the next few months. It is noticeably absent from pretty much all alumni contacts in the last couple of years.

      Basil Fawlty has got nuthin compared to these people.

      healthguyfsu in reply to Tom Servo. | September 25, 2019 at 1:52 pm

      I think you missed my point. I didn’t say the motion should be granted. I said I would like to see them but understand why it’s important to protect the private lives of peripheral parties not named in the suit.

Just when you think Oberlin cannot be any more despicable, they are.

The Friendly Grizzly | September 24, 2019 at 9:45 pm

Someone bought Oberlin a bigger shovel.

Everyone must remember that whatever they say on social media is there forever, and the powerful online companies and the government are probably reading all of it. Anything you say (that you later regret) can and will be used against you if someone wants to use it.

    beagleEar in reply to OldProf2. | September 24, 2019 at 10:01 pm

    Unless you are part of a certain privileged class. e.g: Blasey-Ford’s social media seems to have disappeared without a trace. She had previously rented the in-law apartment she’d commissioned in her house to a Google employee. That apartment contains the “2nd front door” CB-F spoke of, which is actually in a separate living unit.

    RandomCrank in reply to OldProf2. | September 25, 2019 at 12:00 am

    Fortunately, I’m retired. I can say whatever the hell I want to.

    MajorWood in reply to OldProf2. | September 25, 2019 at 10:55 am

    A good buddy long ago told me that getting something off the internet is like trying to remove pee from a swimming pool. Wise words that I routinely fail to live by, but still wise.

    I find it funny that the editor of the Oberlin Review and/or the County Auditor are incapable of simple math. In the article, it is stated that only 4,000 of 166,000 assessments were disputed, “which is about a quarter of one percent.” Hey, I guess an order of magnitude is close enough for them. Still not sure of the point of that article, but like everything else in this case from Oberlin’s direction, it makes no sense. If anything, a boycott of the properties would reduce rents, thus income, and result in a depreciation of the property, which is then a documented record of fact by the assessor. I am really not sure why The Review would want to bring further attention to the negative impact on the Gibson family. But, I guess that if one is seriously ignorant of the nature of the case as The Review has demonstrated, then one can be oblivious to when they are actually helping the opposition through the law of unintended consequences..

    Finally, the previous LI article which placed importance on the exoneration of Raimondo in the settlement offers now has me wondering about the importance of that request. After a week of pondering, my only hypothesis is that someone is worried that the dirt from this case will bleed into other areas that she is involved in, and they want to keep the slate as clean as possible. Good luck with that.

    I only see two outcomes here. 1), They get rid of Ambar, Raimondo, and all others involved in this sordid affair, or 2), the administration is left in place and the entire college is lost in a matter of time. We all know that #2 is most likely, but I was taught to always give a desperate person a reasonable “out” lest they get really erratic as the walls close in. Of course, Oberlin’s response to this would probably be “what walls?”

      MajorWood, So why didn’t the trustees do their duty and put leashes on Ambar and Raimondo or execute your option #1? Could it be that those two ladies are in reality just barking yap dogs for whoever is holding their leashes?

      Even yap dogs do not do stupid things consistently over time without having a reason. Yap dogs are usually dumb, but they nevertheless have reasons for their actions – even though those reasons are sometimes obscure.

      /s/ JD Nobody

        MajorWood in reply to J.D.Nobody. | September 25, 2019 at 1:57 pm

        This trial is about the death of “the racism card.” They overplayed it on day 1 of the protest, and everything since has been an attempt to not lose. I am a behaviorist, and as such, I see all behaviors as a strategy to meet an essential need. In this case, the need is moral superiority. Every move on their part is intended to avoid giving up their “perceived” position on “the high ground.” Except, every move has been taking them in the opposite direction as they dig themselves deeper into a hole. Mental illness is frequently defined as “repeating the same behavior and expecting a different result.” So as Oberlin prepares to double down for the eighth time (by my count), I am curious as to what they expect for an outcome, this time.

        Because, IMHO, it is the race card that is on the table, I see the shots on this being called directly by the trustees, and indirectly by someone in a position higher than the trustees. Oberlin, per se, is just a pawn in the game at this point. What is it they say about pawns? Anyhoo, about 25 years ago I visited Cemetery Ridge. As I looked out to the west, I thought, “well, that was a dumb move.” I had pretty much the same thought when Oberlin decided to not settle up with Gibsons immediately after the shoplifting case concluded. I guess when one is so focused on re-writing history as a purpose that one occasionally re-writes the parts that serve as important lessons, and thus one gets to repeat them in spectacular fashion. So anyway Oberlin, let us know how that charge up the hill is working out for you? Perhaps someone will place a small monument in the middle of Tappan Square to mark the furthest advance of the SJW army. For those who haven’t visited gettysburg, IIRC, that monument is a few hundred yards shy of the Union line.

      stevewhitemd in reply to MajorWood. | September 25, 2019 at 7:51 pm

      The move to clean up Raimondo is an interesting take on this. Oberlin and its lawyers would want to do that if she is a named party in other suits, which she might be as a Dean of Students. Perhaps there are Title IX or other types of complaints sitting out there? The lawyers might be preparing the battlespace then those complaints come in.

Brave Sir Robbin | September 24, 2019 at 10:27 pm

From LI: “… and the alleged defamation of the bakery and its owners by Oberlin College and Dean of Students Meredith Raimondo.”

Alleged? I thought a trial was just concluded and this was established as fact.

Last week my husband and I were traveling through Cleveland as part of a road trip to visit some friends in Toronto. We decided to divert into Oberlin simply to stop at Gibson’s, buy some donuts, a couple of t-shirts, and offer words of support. A very nice older lady was working, and while she was clearly and understandably reluctant to say much about the case, I think she appreciated our patronage. We ate supper nearby and spent a little over an hour total either in or close to Gibson’s store. It was a beautiful fall evening and the street and adjacent park were teeming with students. During that time we didn’t see one young person enter the store, although a handful of older individuals, like us, stopped in to buy baked goods. Whatever the ultimate result of the lawsuit I suspect that the commercial damage to the store may be irreversible. P.S. The donuts and the chocolate covered caramels were exceedingly delicious!

    The Friendly Grizzly in reply to RNJD. | September 25, 2019 at 9:26 am

    I’m taking a trip west to visit family in a few days. I may just take a long route home.

    In the Oberlin of yesteryear, some students would have come out publicly against the injustices in this matter and would be patronizing Gibson’s Bakery.

    Oberlin students today seem to be a pack of compulsive conformists, despite the comments others have on this blog to the contrary.

      Silvertree in reply to J.D.Nobody. | September 28, 2019 at 1:25 am

      Is it not strange? In my day, Oberlin was full of truly talented rebels and free thinkers, strong self-confident non-conformists who would consciously avoid jumping on any bandwagon or joining any parade that “everyone else” was interested in (almost to an annoying degree at times). In retrospect that was actually the coolest thing: so many gifted kids pursuing really unique paths and not caring a whit what others might think of them.
      And finding true kindred spirits among fellow Obies as they went along….. I for one was truly in awe of my classmates and there was such a free happy atmosphere of discovery, for the most part. No one seemed to be interested in being just like everyone else.

      Do you think these students now fear violence from fellow students? Could that be the different ingredient nowadays? Or perhaps with social media it is easier to damage a person’s entire experience at college, and perhaps destroy a person’s reputation forever? So students have become as fearful as little mice and dare not to dissent? Where’s the backbone, where is the integrity? Can nobody tell me what’s going on here?

        MajorWood in reply to Silvertree. | September 28, 2019 at 11:33 am

        I would like to believe that it is a case of the 90% being intimidated by the 10%, and that a concerted effort has been placed to recruit a number of students who are hell bent on socially disruptive activism. I do not think that it was a slip of the tongue when Raimondo stated that she would unleash the students. Think of it as a reverse Faber University, where the leftist students are there to do the will of the Dean. Of course, the worst part of this is that the normal students have no recourse. The need to clear Raimondo’s name in this debacle strongly suggests to me that there are a lot of other complaints in other areas which may come to light. Someone may have stepped on a few too many toes on the way up. Perhaps we are finally starting to get to the part of this which actually does make sense.

        I also wonder where they find the time. I recall starting the semester a week behind and actually never being caught up even when the last blue book was signed. But then, I was STEM and am unaware of the requirements of the “non-majors” in the “studies” programs. They sound a lot like a person I knew who managed to take the intro class in every department with no intention of declaring a major or meeting any graduation requirements (at the time it was that one needed 1/2 of their hours to be outside of the major). Left to our own devices most of us actually ended up well rounded, and I used the reading list (and used books) of various English courses as my summer reading list.

        Wow. You raise many important points. Among them, social media is a significant contributor to destroying independent thinking. If you don’t have Facebook “friends” fawning all over you are an outcast.

        Look at how the end justifies the means in Dean Raimondo’s role model. She is a mockery of liberalism in its classical sense, and the college is backing her to the hilt. There could be one or more Rasputins behind her throne, which would explain some things.

        There probably is a fear of violence if you do not salute the political correctness of the moment. Just try suggesting that Pres. Trump might not be 100% wrong 100% of the time. Today, having incorrect ideas like that is terrible for your health. BTW, my artificial intelligence diction checker says that in the previous sentence, “the noun ideas might combine better with an adjective other than incorrect.” It is a sad day when an artificial intelligence diction checker is wiser than the artificial stupidity rampant in the Cox Administration Building.

      artichoke in reply to J.D.Nobody. | September 29, 2019 at 9:30 pm

      If I were a student at Oberlin, there for my one and only undergraduate education, I would be afraid to go to Gibson’s. That’s the way those students (or enough of them, backed by senior faculty and administration) obviously are, as shown by the night of the riot.

ring up another win for the Gibson’s legal team, this time when the suit was filed. Brilliant move keeping the young Gibson out of the complaint and limiting the evidence that could be presented.

even the oberlin student newspaper continues to try to paint a narrative

    walls in reply to buck61. | September 25, 2019 at 6:55 am

    Odd that (2) rental units are worth $900K … but in court, Oberlin stated the bakery is worth only $35K.

    neurodoc in reply to buck61. | September 25, 2019 at 2:19 pm

    There was a “narrative” in it? I must be really obtuse, since I neither saw one, nor could imagine one in the facts the students managed to sleuth out.

    So much that could be usefully written about this unfortunate business and the tremendous harm that Oberlin has suffered, but the school and it’s supporters are profoundly non-comprehending. That non-comprehension has cost them at a huge (>$30M) amount.

    Is Oberlin waiting for Uncle Bernie to bail them out and punish the plutocratic Gibsons?

    stevewhitemd in reply to buck61. | September 25, 2019 at 7:56 pm

    I wrote a quick post there in response. Might be a good thing for more LI readers to comment (respectfully, of course!) to push back. Who cares how much property the Gibsons own? The issue is Oberlin’s behavior.

      artichoke in reply to stevewhitemd. | September 29, 2019 at 9:41 pm

      I don’t see how to comment on that article. Maybe they’ve shut it off, with 3 comments saying it’s an inappropriate article and none supporting it.

      A very unimpressive performance for the enlightened, caring, expressive student body that can’t even compose a supportive letter to the editor.

      It’s not a well written article. A good half of it is about the detailed procedures of the town assessor there, without any foundation as to why we would need to know all that stuff.

We’ve been reading for years of the challenges that teachers face from the parents of a student who is such a perfect little darling in the eyes of the parents, and something altogether different to the rest of society. Oberlin administration seems very much to be akin to those blind parents.

It seems the Oberlin’s board and alumni are fine with this, too.

    In the days of yore, the college had a policy of in loco parentis for the underaged. This policy needs to be reinstated and correctly applied to the children among the Trustees.

It is time to thank Prof. Jacobson for the professional time he has donated to exposing the exponentially growing stupidity in the Gibson’s v. Oberlin matter. For those of us who know the other side of Oberlin, the garbage must be brought out. Tens of thousands of good people have been betrayed by the self-righteous and blind obsessions of a few idiots.


It is a tragedy that Pres. Ambar (and Raimondo) cannot be brought up for impeachment along with Pres. Trump. Ambar, unlike Trump, has a law degree. Despite the credential discrepancy, Pres. Trump appears to be far more skilled at acting as his own attorney than is Pres. Ambar.

Now you can all say Nobody told us.

/s/ JD Nobody, OC ’61

One can only hope that people learn to simply not use social media and perhaps blog forums as places to be “frank” and “honest”. It’s the 21st century. And you will end up regretting it. Just. Don’t. Do. It.

I mean, look at the kid who was raising millions for the Children’s Hospital in Iowa – he’s now a villain for a social media post when he was…16! And now the companies that were helping to bankroll the funds to the hospital have to back off to appease the mob.

And standby for that material to be leaked to “friendly” media in 5…4…3….

Please oh please oh please oh please…. Let Oberlin leak Exhibit G to the press. The resulting smack-down from the Court could be registered on the Richter Scale.

And you know… they are just itching to do it…

    MajorWood in reply to Haiku Guy. | September 25, 2019 at 5:35 pm

    Which part of “sealed” wasn’t clear? I suspect the good judge may be be uttering these words in the near future.

    The real “missed opportunity” in the Gibsons – Oberlin dispute were the seemingly never-ending number of lotteries that could have been set up had we known this was going to be a 3-6 year long event. I remember when we had a blackboard in our laboratory dedicated to the OJ trial and all of the major and minor issues that cropped up on a daily basis. If I were to look back to even March or April of this year I am certain that my predictions were in the $7-9M region, including a full 2X punitive. I recall back then that there were some here who were floating suggestions in the $1M range and thought that mine were way out of line. Of course the one that everyone would have gotten wrong was “how much did Oberlin spend on legal fees?” Would we have even had a column for $5+M? And as I read about Oberlin wanting to have the facebook postings made public, it makes me want to speculate that there will be a second defamation trial in progress before the first one has concluded. “Let it go” does not appear to be in their playbook.

Hope they bankrupt the college.

It seems like Gibson’s appropriate response would be to file under Ohio’s equivalent of Rule 11 for penalties to be imposed on Oberlin for making such a frivolous and malicious motion.

I honestly didn’t think that Oberlin and its attorneys could stoop any lower, but I was obviously wrong. It appears to me that the attorneys are not controlling the strategy in this case–no thinking litigator could have done such a poor job, so it appears that the trustees and whoever they answer to (Soros?) is calling the shots on this case. May they lose on appeal, in the court of public opinion and on Judgment Day.

Now I’m off to order chocolates from Gibsons who deserve better than this.

Oberlin has a large board, as shown here:
With so many members, probably it hardly ever meets and does not use its power. It would be nice if someone shamed the members individually by name, though. Marvin Krislov, the old President, overlapped with me as an undergrad at Yale, but I didn’t know him well enough for him to be ashamed of me knowing about what he did.

This is either a case of legal malpractice on the part of Oberlin’s counsel, or a case of insanity on the part of the defendants as well as their counsel. When I was practicing law I was happy to represent any party with even a marginal case with all my vigor, but if I detected that the client had no case but was litigating out of spite or for political purposes, I would have resigned.

I looked at the list of trustees–how can a sitting judge be on a board like this? Does Texas have different rules that permit this?
In Illinois most judges I know have to resign from charitable boards when they take the bench. Maybe he’s retired and I just misread it?

EricRasmusen, Carl, rochf: Today, I visited Gibson’s bakery and spoke at length to a member of the Gibson family. They now appreciate that there are probably some big rats in the college’s woodwork, as suggested in your posts. There has to be design in the college’s litigation madness. It is clear to me that these rats are at the board level OR HIGHER. I do not believe for one second that the legal craziness documented in this blog is attributable to just marathon stupidity on the part of some brilliant people who know better – people like Ambar and Raimondo. They know what they are doing, and are probably unaware of being skillfully manipulated.

EricRasmusen: Until your post this morning, I was formulating a plan for publicly shaming the trustees for dereliction of duty. You have convinced me that I need to rethink shaming the trustees collectively and focus on shaming them individually instead. It is only appropriate that the stars in Oberlin’s “Keystone Kops in a Courtroom” movie receive Hall of Shame Oscars for their performances.

/s/ JD Nobody, OC ’61.