Oberlin College now owes bakery $11 million

Good day all. For a while now, and even more so now that Donald Trump is president, We’ve been seeing Colleges and Universities insulting, threatening and outright punishing people, organizations and companies that don’t hew the Progressive line.

One of these businesses was a small bakery in Ohio ran afoul of the progressive thugs attending Oberlin College when they had some shoplifters arrested. The usual morons suspects from the student body promptly spent three days protesting the arrests and accusing the bakery of racism.

Rather then pull these young skulls full of progressive sewage back from the edge, the college flat out backed them. Sadly for the moonbats in the student body and the college, the accusations were demonstrably false and the bakery sued the college. Well, the verdict is in and it isn’t good for Oberlin. Here are the details from Fox News:

Oberlin College in Ohio will have to pay a nearby bakery more than $11 million in damages because it libeled the store, tagging it as racist, and interfered with its business, a jury said on Friday.

Gibson’s Bakery came under fire after Allyn Gibson, the owners’ son, got into a physical altercation with a black student who reportedly tried shoplifting and using a fake ID at the store, The Chronicle-Telegram said. Two other black students got involved, appearing to prompt accusations of racial profiling.

There was just one small problem with all this. The students were guilty as hell.

The three students eventually pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges and read statements defending Allyn Gibson’s right to detain them. They also read statements claiming that his actions weren’t racially motivated, but within days of the incident, students were turning out for protests fueled by accusations of racist intent.

Never underestimate the stupidity of students attending a Progressive college. The one thing that they are never taught is actual thinking. As for the college administration? Instead of trying to explain things to these young skulls full of raw sewage, they joined in on the attacks. Gibson’s Bakery then decided to do something highly unusual. The filed suit, and they won, big time.

The jury found the school and Oberlin’s vice president and dean of students, Meredith Raimondo, guilty of libel after Raimondo allegedly helped pass out flyers claiming that the bakery was “racist” and had a history of “racial profiling and discrimination.”

The jury also found that the college (not Raimondo) was guilty of intentional infliction of emotional distress for the owner, David Gibson, as well as libel and intentional infliction of emotional distress on his son.

As expected, the college’s lawyers were not happy with the verdict.

Donica Thomas Varner, the college’s general counsel, said he was disappointed with the verdict and denied the college had defamed the bakery or its owners.

Donica Thomas Varner, the college’s general counsel, said he was disappointed with the verdict and denied the college had defamed the bakery or its owners.”

Well, it seems the jury disagreed with you, hence the crushing defeat in court.

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.”

The next phase of the case is determining if any punitive damages should be awarded. This could be up to $22 million dollars on top of the original $11 million dollar judgment. Rather than pulling back, Oberlin doubled down on their stupidity. According to Legal Insurrection:

As mentioned numerous times, “from the start of this case I have questioned the aggressive and demeaning attacks on the Gibsons as a defense strategy,” and “I’m still shaking my head at the tone-deafness of the defense in belittling this family business.” The jury seems to have agreed, rendering a combined $11.2 million compensatory damages verdict against Oberlin College and its Dean of Students, Meredith Raimondo.

The next stage is a punitive damages hearing, since the jury found the defendants acted with intent and malice. A separate punitive damages hearing is required under the Ohio Tort Reform legislation that passed several years ago. The point is to keep some of the more inflammatory evidence that does not go to liability or compensatory damages away from the jury during the initial deliberations. That additional evidence relevant to punitive damages could include information as to the wealth of the defendants, but also additional information supporting the need for punishment.

So you would think that the school and the lawyers for the school would try to do as much as they could to minimize the damages. You would be incorrect.

In this context, there is nothing more baffling than a statement sent to alumni after the verdict by Donica Thomas Varner, Oberlin College’s Vice President and General Counsel.

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

Legal Insurrection then goes into details on why sending this message is so baffling, and why it’s not a good idea. They wondered why someone with Varner’s experience would do something like this.

Someone with such deep experience as Varner should have known better than to send out such a statement in the middle of trial, particularly on the cusp of a punitive damages hearing. I understand the college felt the need to say something, but first do no harm. Simply send out a mass email, since alumni were going to hear about the verdict through the news, indicating that college cannot comment since the trial is ongoing, and that more information will be provided after the trial is over. Or express a vague regret at the verdict and respect for the jurors.

Which would make sense of course.

But for heaven’s sake, don’t make things worse.

Don’t accuse the jurors of disregarding the “clear evidence,” don’t repeat the same failed claim that the college administrators were simply keeping the peace and protecting free speech when numerous witnesses testified otherwise, and don’t claim the college was held liable vicariously when in fact the college’s own conduct was at issue.

I think saying “Don’t make things worse” is, in the case, like closing the door after the horse has left. Oberlin’s insurance carrier has told them that they won’t cover this judgment. According to the American Thinker:

The insurer that covers Oberlin College for liability, Lexington Insurance Company, filed documents with court last month indicating that its umbrella liability policy would not cover costs of any judgment for the plaintiffs. That means that if, after the appeals process has run its course, the plaintiffs move to collect the $11 million a jury just awarded them (plus whatever punitive damages – up to $22 more – are awarded next week), Lexington likely won’t pay and Oberlin would have to sue for reimbursement.

Now granted, there is a long way to go with this. There is no doubt at all that Oberlin is going to appeal this case as far up as they can. I have a suspicion that it isn’t going to work. While the appeals are underway, interest is accruing on the judgment. Since this could be going on for a few more years, and if Oberlin loses all the way up, that maximum of $33 million dollars is probably going to hit $40 or more million dollars.

If the insurance company also wins, and doesn’t have to cover the judgment, well, that money has got to come from somewhere, and I assume that tuitions will go up and worthless classes will and staff will be cut.. As to the individuals that were sued and lost, I don’t know if the college will indemnify them and cover those judgments. The worst case scenario for the individuals is that Oberlin College walks away from them and they have to cover their share, if any, of the judgments.

The next phase should be interesting and very entertaining. As you can imagine, the Left wing Progressives are already screaming about how this “Chills the right of free speech.” Of course, these collectivist ninnys have absolutely no problem suppressing the rights of anyone they don’t agree with. All I can say to Oberlin, it sucks to be you.

Thatisall

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