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Oberlin College-aligned Media Effort To Unseal Gibson’s Bakery Clerk Facebook Records Goes To Briefing In Ohio Supreme Court

Oberlin College-aligned Media Effort To Unseal Gibson’s Bakery Clerk Facebook Records Goes To Briefing In Ohio Supreme Court

The Facebook records dispute is a sideshow to the main appeal from the Gibson’s Bakery verdict, but it’s a nasty sideshow done by a media outlet that appears to be doing the college’s dirty work in the hope of portraying the Gibsons as racists.

WEWS-TV in Cleveland, where Oberlin College’s lead trial counsel used to work as a legal commentator, is continuing its effort to unseal the confidential Facebook records of Allyn D. Gibson, the Gibson’s Bakery clerk who stopped a black college student shoplifter leading to accusations of racial profiling, protests, and the defamation case against the college that went to trial in 2019.

This is a sideshow to the main appeal, which is still pending and could be ruled on any day, in which (1) Oberlin College and Dean of Students Meredith Raimando seek to overturn the compensatory and punitive damage awards totalling, after reduction under Ohio tort reform law, $25 million, plus over $6 million in attorney’s fees, bringing the judgment to over $32 million, and (2) the cross-appeal by Gibson’s Bakery and two members of the Gibson family (including the widow of the late David Gibson) seeking to restore the full $33 million punitive damages award.

The Facebook records dispute is a sideshow, but it’s a nasty sideshow done by a media outlet that appears to be doing the college’s dirty work in the hope of portraying the Gibsons as racists, as we have explored and explained in numerous posts:

In that last linked post above, I noted that the Ohio Supreme Court sent the case to mediation (docket), but I didn’t read much into that:

I don’t read much into that referral to mediation, which strikes me as something appeals courts routinely do. I can’t see mediation being successful in this circumstance, but courts require litigants to try.

Not surprisingly, mediation didn’t work and the case has been redocketed for briefing by the Ohio Supreme Court. The case is WEWS-TV against the trial court judge, because WEWS-TV is seeking “mandamus,” and order directing Miraldi to unseal the records. Miraldi’s response is due 21 days from August 25.

An Entry of Appearance has been entered by the Lorain County Prosecutors Office, who will represent the Judge. While I assume the prosecutors’ office will do their best, the real party in interest here is Allyn D. Gibson, after all it’s his records that would be unsealed. I don’t know whether the Gibson family lawyers, the ones who represented Allyn on the intermediate appeal, will move to intervene or at least be heard.

We will continue to follow both appeals.



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So the main case COULD be ruled on at any day – any idea what a likely timeframe is for the ruling? Is this likely to happen in the next few days/week, or are we looking more off in the future.

Who is funding this never-ending assault?

    Probably the usual suspects. The left’s international budget probably matches that of the US military.

    And given the idiots who are running the US military, the left could probably beat them in a war.

If the standard is abuse of discretion, the judge should be accorded a large margin of appreciation.

At this point, the matter hardly seems newsworthy as it relates to the underlying case, but the injection of media to carry water for a litigant sure is.

“Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice. Moderation in pursuit of justice is no virtue.” – Goldwater

When did we as a nation give up the defense of liberty and the tolerate the abuse of justice. ? If that is the level to which our national character has descended – we deserve whatever chains we are given.

    Dathurtz in reply to Ben Kent. | August 28, 2021 at 9:36 am

    That was a done deal the moment our society decided that it was unacceptable to respond violently to abuse from our government.

      henrybowman in reply to Dathurtz. | August 28, 2021 at 11:49 am

      s/society/the Right/

      Clearly the Left has no such reluctance.

        Dathurtz in reply to henrybowman. | August 28, 2021 at 2:27 pm

        Of course. We will just stand there all respectful and gentlemanly while they cheat and ruin our country and threaten our livelihood.

        Gotta follow the rules even if the other guys don’t.

I would think because of the practice issues around disclosures under agreed protective orders, there should be intervention by the Ohio Bar or similar trial practice groups. While this is important to Oberlin in its attempt to show the Gibson family are racist before the court of appeals issues a decision, it is important to the trial bar in Ohio in a broader sense. The lawyers from the county prosecutor’s office will defend the trial judge, they don’t have the same perspective as either the Gibson family or the trial bar in general.

I hope the court slaps this sleazy media company down hard. Allyn Gibson didn’t stop the shoplifting black Oberlin student that night because he’s a raaaaacist who was racially profiling Oberlin students. Allyn Gibson stopped the shoplifting black Oberlin student because he had seen the student shove a couple bottles of wine into his coat and attempt to steal them from the Gibsons’ store. Allyn Gibson’s personal feelings/opinions about blacks had nothing to do with what happened in the store that night. He saw a black student shoplifting wine in the store, he stopped the student, the student later admitted he had been shoplifting the wine. There was never any evidence at trial that the Gibson’s store had any “racist” policies or practices towards black customers, so Allyn Gibson’s personal feelings or opinions about blacks simply had no relevance to any of the issues in the case. The news station’s attempt to smear the Gibson family by getting the FB account of Allyn Gibson unsealed is despicable and wrong. The FB account is completely irrelevant, and the news station should be sanctioned for attempting to have it unsealed for clearly improper purposes.

These social media posts (whatever their content) have no bearing whatsoever upon the facts upon which the original lawsuit is based, the tortious conduct complained of, and, the basis for Gibson’s Bakey winning a judgment. There is no reason for these posts to be made public. It’s absurd that this transparent smear and distraction antic by Oberlin is even being entertained by the Court.