The Bell Tolls: Oberlin College’s $33 Million Lesson

The Bell Tolls: Oberlin College’s $33 Million Lesson

The Bell Tolls: Oberlin College’s $33 Million Lesson

The bell tolled for Oberlin College. Yesterday a jury handed down one helluva a punitive damage award to Gibson’s Bakery. Oberlin College was given a $33 million lesson in how NOT to let woke SJW’s have the run of the place.

Legal Insurrection has been following this case from the very beginning. This is what started this saga. 

“On November 9, 2016, Gibson’s employees noticed what they thought was a person shoplifting two bottles of wine hidden in his jacket. That alleged shoplifter was a black Oberlin College student. When they attempted to stop and photograph him, they were attacked by several other people accompanying the student.”

This from the police report:

“On Wednesday, November 9, 2016, at approximately 4:58pm, officers responded to the area of Gibson’s Bakery in reference to a report of a fight in progress. As officers were responding to the area, dispatch advised that this was involving an alleged theft complaint. Dispatch advised that Allyn Gibson, who is an employee of Gibson’s Bakery, was attempting to apprehend a subject who Allyn had witnessed attempt to steal several items. As officers approached the area, Sgt. Ortiz, and Officer Feuerstein both stated they observed Allyn Gibson lying on his back with several individuals kneeling over him punching and kicking him with several other individuals in the immediate area. Officers attempted to gain control of the situation and were met several times with resistance from several different individuals. After a few minutes officers were finally able to take one female into custody and calm the incident and attempt to figure out what had taken place.”

What happened next was classic #BlackLivesMatter playbook. The bakery was labeled racist and protests were organized. Oberlin’s Dean of Students was present at the protests to help ‘keep everyone safe’. Student organizations called for a boycott of the bakery. And what did Oberlin do? Issue a statement blaming Trump’s election and essentially called Gibson’s Bakery racist.

The Gibson family decided to fight back. They took Oberlin to court.

Oberlin’s defense in the case was quite something

  • Defense says five generations of family history is irrelevant
  • Defense stated Bakery is worth $35,000 – less than one semester’s tuition at Oberlin
  • ‘Support’ means Gibson’s Bakery should’ve settled with Oberlin College and not taken them to court even though Oberlin refused to settle earlier
  • ‘Support’ means letting students riot and protest and have a quiet space as long as they don’t get too violent
  • ‘Support’ means Dean of Students handing a reporter a very racist flyer and then calling same reporter a liar for putting that in the article

The judge and jury learned that Gibson’s Bakery and the family received threats, employees had their tires slashed, and 90-year-old Allyn W. Gibson fell and broke 3 vertebrae in his neck after people banged on his 1st floor apartment window in the wee hours of the morning. Yet Oberlin let Woke SJW jackasses run the campus and attempt to ruin a long-standing community business, all because of a shoplifter.

““What [Oberlin College] did to the Gibsons’ was irrational … and that part of it really angered me as just a private person who saw what was happening to the Gibsons. You would expect a highly regarded university, with a long history of being a great school in this country, would have disregarded what we would think of as a basic thought process,” Plakas continued.””

Plakas closing statement to the jury included quoting John Donne’s ‘For Whom The Bell Tolls,’ and the following:

““Why is the country watching you. Because the country agrees that what happened to the Gibsons should not happen to anyone, but could happen to everyone.”

” Colleges are watching us and you. Because they all know the way colleges are run will be affected, and by your decisions, they will be””

The jury found for Gibson’s Bakery and awarded the business $11 million. Yesterday, the jury rendered its verdict in the punitive damages phase.

David Gibson – $17.5 million punitive damages

Allyn W. Gibson — $8.75 million punitive damages

Gibson Bros. Inc. (the Bakery) – $6,973,500 punitive damages

That puts the grand total at $33 million dollars. Will Oberlin College learn its lesson? Given the statement they just issued, the answer is a resounding NO. The college has been on the Woke SJW spree for at least 10 years now. The college needs a complete overhaul. Will that happen? Doubtful. Especially since students currently on campus firmly believe that Gibson’s is racist and the cops lied about the shoplifting. 

The Gibson’s Bakery case should be a major wake up call for college campuses everywhere.

The jury is telling Oberlin and the country that ordinary law abiding citizens and businesses have had enough of the juvenile SJW wokeness crap. Colleges and the media (who have completely ignored this case) had better take note that unchecked campus leftism doesn’t pay, or the bell will toll for them as well.

Welcome Instapundit Readers!

Feature Photo Credit: David Gibson and Allyn W. Gibson via Legal Insurrection, cropped and modified

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  • GWB says:

    That puts the grand total at $33 million dollars.
    Actually, it puts the grand total at ~$44 million. One of the points LegalInsurrection has made is that Ohio law holds total damages to 3x the compensatory damages. Jacobson thinks the judge will reduce it to ~$22 million to comply with the law (giving that total of $33 million you note), but he could leave it higher (there are exceptions in the law).

    However, the jury ALSO authorized the judge to award plaintiff attorney’s fees. So, he could reduce it to $22 million, then bump it back up by however much the Gibsons’ lawyers charge.

    Basically we’re quibbling over numbers. 🙂
    The message is still clear an unequivocal.

  • Blackgriffin says:

    Let’s hope that the success of this case encourages other victims of Leftist social “justice” to fight back, too, while at the same time giving pause to Leftists who commit these vile acts against innocent Americans who don’t happen to agree with them.

  • Charles N. Steele says:

    Wonderful! I hope Oberlin suffers collapsing enrollments because of this.

    Meanwhile, state and federal subsidies to Oberlin ought to be slashed, since the college has been found to be abudive of citizens.

  • cthulhu says:

    I just hope the appeals court renders a verdict in 10 minutes or less and doubles the monetary reward, with a footnote saying, “go ahead and appeal it again, idiots”.

    • GOFU says:

      The post-judgment interest rate in Ohio is 5%.

      On $33 million that is $1,650,000 per annum, or $4,521 per day.

      So go ahead, Oberlin. Take it all the way to the Supreme Court.

      ha ha ha ha ha, a thousand times ha ha ha ha

  • Erick R Ramsey says:

    All these SJW want to be a victim of something, fine crucify every last one that shows up at the next riot and you will find that victim hood will be much less esteemed nation wide.

  • Ankylus says:

    I have seen a lot about the state law capping the punitive damages. I have not seen the language of the statute, but it would surely be interesting in that no individual plaintiff received punitive damages in an amount that, as I understand it, would violate the statute. The cumulative amount apparently does, but no individual award does. I think there’s room for the entire award to be realized-depending on the language of the statute.

  • mike in houston says:

    remember this little ditty from 2015

  • Glenn Gallup says:

    My guess is Oberlin is Judge shopping right now. Looking for one who will set the verdict aside.

  • bevo says:

    Every college and university should be given the same treatment in cases like this. That is unlikely to happen in the world of leftist elites.

  • Da Bear says:

    The real wake up call that should have SJW campus administration types in a tizzy; the judge will most likely award legal fees to the plaintiff’s attorneys, in excess of five milllion dollars.

    Up to now the heavy legal talent in this country has shied away from these sorts of cases because the big paydays had not been forthcoming. Now the Oberlin judgment has chummed the legal waters, and there will be hundreds of attorney’s looking to make a financial killing, by reaching into the deep pockets of all those billion dollar college endowments.

  • David Byler says:

    finally! a glimmer of hope that reason and civil order might prevail!

  • cadgbd says:

    It was white people that put and end to slavery in Europe and America but in brown nations slavery persists to this day. Blacks and people of all races owe the greatest debt of gratitude to White People for ending slavery!!!

  • […] you are a “woke” college student or professor at Columbia University, or any other college here in the […]

  • […] verdict was handed down in 2019, with monetary damages being […]

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