Law VERDICT: Jury awards Gibson’s Bakery $11 million against Oberlin College - Your hate hoax isn't "just starting a conversation"

Rikka Takarada 2

I can't access my old account
kiwifarms.net
Via Legal Insurrection
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 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:


Bakery targeted by Oberlin College #BlackLivesMatter fights back
Oberlin College halted purchases from Gibson’s Bakery targeted by #BlackLivesMatter, but may reconsider
Gibson’s Bakery sues Oberlin College over racial profiling accusations, Oberlin cuts business ties
Oberlin College lashes out at Gibson’s Bakery, portrays itself as victim
Court: Gibson’s Bakery lawsuit against Oberlin College can continue in full
Oberlin College: We can’t get a fair trial in our home county
Judge rejects Oberlin College request to move town-gown lawsuit to another county
Gibson’s Bakery v. Oberlin College — Trump 2016 win stoked student protests over shoplifting incident day after election
Putting Social Justice Warfare on trial: Gibson’s Bakery lawsuit against Oberlin College heading to trial.

Here are our trial posts:

Juror perceptions of reputation and social media emerge in questioning
Opening Statements: Claims of War and Peace
Trial Day 1 – “It was a mob mentality out there”
Trial Day 2 – “I don’t know” may come back to haunt the defense
Trial Day 3 – To “unleash the students” or not, that was the question
Trial Day 4 – As protests grew, Mrs. Gibson was “very nervous and afraid”
Trial Day 5 – 90-year-old Allyn W. Gibson testifies “some threats made to us”
Trial Day 6 – What’s a bakery worth?
Trial Day 7 — Damages Expert says Show Gibson’s The Money!
Trial Day 8 — “my dad was going to pass away labeled as a racist”
Trial Day 9 – “the business never came back”
Defense motion for directed verdict DENIED, case going to the jury
Alumni Weekend – Oblivious alums in for a shock if college loses
Trial Day 10 – It depends upon what the meaning of the word “support” is
Trial Day 11 – Don’t let them eat Gibson’s cake
Trial Day 12 – Defense says Bakery worth only $35k, less than one semester at Oberlin College
Trial Day 13 — Defense expert declares Gibson family 5-generation bakery history “irrelevant”
Gibson’s Bakery v. Oberlin College trial reflects Higher Ed disconnect from the lives of most Americans
Judge keeps out politics, but Town v. Gown frames the case
Verdict this week?
Closing Argument: “When a powerful institution says you are racist, you are doomed”
What's even more significant than the fact this is a successful prosecution of basically a hate hoax, is that the *fucking University* is the one that has to pay for it (all because of the not-at-all-predictable actions of one of their "woke" diversity deans)! Maybe now some universities will think twice about giving free reign to a bloated administrator class of loony "intersectionalists" (or maybe even stop hiring them in the first place but I guess that's too :optimistic: )
 

Rikka Takarada 2

I can't access my old account
kiwifarms.net
Sometimes a lawsuit is the last stop before somebody gets shot in the head.
Or, perhaps worse, your entire life you've built up - and the future you were building - burns to the ground in front of you all because of a lie told to fit a narrative (if the other person was even thinking that far ahead).

Lots of people know the Gatsby quote about the loneliest moment in a man's life, but my favourite on why these situations are actually serious is from Shylock in the Merchant of Venice when he tells the Duke to execute him:

Nay, take my life and all. Pardon not that.
You take my house when you do take the prop
That doth sustain my house. You take my life
When you do take the means whereby I live
 
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Fleshy Sanik

sanik is NOT blue
kiwifarms.net
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.
-Donica Warner
Outright lies designed to harm someone are protected by the first amendment? Well in that case Donica Warner is trafficking harvested human organs from Eeitrea.
 

TowinKarz

Is it Morning Yet?
kiwifarms.net
I used to think that Americans were too litigious,
The "problem" was for years, average non-tortuous Joes followed the Republican lead of "losing with dignity" and kissed ring when moral busybody people came around and defamed them and threw lawsuits at them for not being diverse enough because they just wanted to get it over with and get on with life/running a business.

But having seen, like the rest of us, that there is no "win"condition with SocJus ideologues, they've decided to fight fire with fire.

And the quiet person who just wants to get on with life, in that regard, is the worst kind of person to make an enemy of.

Though slow to anger and very hard to upset, once you do it, you've unleashed the Incredible Hulk, and they aren't going to stop until you are a greasy smear on the pavement.

And the left should fear what's coming down on them, from Covington to Colorado, the arrogant SJWs who bragged on line about punching Nazis are finding out that gleefully admitting to defamation on a public forum was a bad move when the victim of said defamation decides to FIGHT BACK.
 

Arctic Fox

Does it have to be so cold?
kiwifarms.net
I really love how they hide behind the first amendment after years of colleges saying it should be banned. They went after a small town bakery for basically fun and tried to destroy their livelihood. I hope the courts award the full $33 Million. These people deserve it for the Hell they've been through in the name of dangerhair indentity bullshit.
 

The Lizard Queen

Lizard boobs. Your argument is invalid.
kiwifarms.net
There are so many colleges shitting their pants right now. It's only a matter of time before they start distancing themselves from SJW themed "extra circular" student activities to avoid liability.
The colleges will still preach intolerance, hate, racist nonsense, and socialism, of course, but they'll keep the worst SJW activities away from campuses and make sure students sign documents protecting the colleges from taking blame for the junk they've put in the student's heads.
 

Gar For Archer

kiwifarms.net
The "problem" was for years, average non-tortuous Joes followed the Republican lead of "losing with dignity" and kissed ring when moral busybody people came around and defamed them and threw lawsuits at them for not being diverse enough because they just wanted to get it over with and get on with life/running a business.

But having seen, like the rest of us, that there is no "win"condition with SocJus ideologues, they've decided to fight fire with fire.

And the quiet person who just wants to get on with life, in that regard, is the worst kind of person to make an enemy of.

Though slow to anger and very hard to upset, once you do it, you've unleashed the Incredible Hulk, and they aren't going to stop until you are a greasy smear on the pavement.

And the left should fear what's coming down on them, from Covington to Colorado, the arrogant SJWs who bragged on line about punching Nazis are finding out that gleefully admitting to defamation on a public forum was a bad move when the victim of said defamation decides to FIGHT BACK.
Way I like to put it is, the silent majority are finally starting to realize that they *are*, in fact, a *majority*, and were restricted in action purely by the false belief that their own (moderate) opinions were in the minority.

This is somewhat aided by the fact that left is a positive feedback loop that pushes further and further left, to the point that even casual liberals are starting to get a whiff of something stinking.

At my university there was a recent incident that brought disgusting leftist identity politics to light, and I was shocked by the number of otherwise liberal, anti-Trump students who spoke out *against* the activists. Granted, this was a small engineering school so my experience is hardly typical of an average American college campus, but it gave me quite a bit of hope for the future.

With the Covington lawsuit, Meyer v. Waid, Weeb Wars, and Steven Crowder likely ramping up for a suit against Youtube/Google, I’m certainly looking forward to the spectacles on the horizon.
 

CheezzyMach

Superior Tentacle Rapist
kiwifarms.net
Good, these arrogant assholes deserve to get shit kicked back to reality.

By continuing to promote this kind of bullshit woketards are going to completely neuter the Left and turn it into the Republicans' bitch made whore for at least a decade if not more.

They learned NOTHING from the Right's downfall and near death just a decade earlier thanks to Fundie bullshit.
 
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