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    Oberlin College – Gibson’s Bakery Tag

    Today starting at 10 a.m. is the oral argument in (1) the appeal byOberlin College and Dean of Students Meredith Raimando seeking 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, arguing the tort reform reduction was unconstitutional, which would add back about $15 million to the judgment.

    There are multiple appellate fronts in the Gibson's Bakery v. Oberlin College case. First and most important, Oberlin College and Dean Meredith Raimondo have appealed seeking to overturn the massive compensatory and punitive damage verdicts. Numerous entities have come to their assistance by filing amicus (friend of the court) briefs, including certain Cleveland media entities. The Gibsons' response to the appeal is due by August 5.

    The appeal brief of Gibson's Bakery opposing the appeal of Oberlin College and Meredith Raimondo is due on August 5, after Gibson's motion for a final extension of time was granted by the appeals court Magistrate. Gibson's previously filed its Cross-Appeal Brief, seeking reinstatement of the full punitive damages verdict. While the regular briefing has been pending, a group of media and other groups asked permission to file so-called Amicus (friend of the Court) briefs in support of the college's appeal.

    Oberlin College has filed its Brief appealing the $11 million compensatory and $33 million punitive damage verdicts (later reduced to $25 million under Ohio tort reform caps) won by Gibson's Bakery. The Bakery also has filed its Cross-Appeal Brief seeking reinstatement of the full punitive damages verdict.

    Last Friday, Oberlin College and Dean of Students Meredith Raimondo filed their Appeal Brief, seeking to overturn the trial verdict. The NAACP also filed a ridiculous Amicus Brief supporting the college. According to the docket, at least one more Amicus Brief will be filed for a coalition of 'anti-censorship' groups. Today, Gibson's Bakery filed its Cross-Appeal Brief (pdf.)(full embed at bottom of post). Wait, what is a cross-appeal?

    Oberlin College and Dean of Students Meredith Raimondo have filed their Appeal Brief (pdf.) in the Gibson's Bakery case. The NAACP also has filed an Amicus Brief (pdf.) in support of the college. Full copies of both briefs are at the bottom of this post. The Oberlin College Brief is redacted because some information was filed under seal (the information at issue in the various motions to unseal we previously covered). It's not clear whether any Amicus Briefs will be filed supporting the Gibsons, to my knowledge no one is coming to their assistance.

    After a monumental compensatory and punitive damages jury verdict in favor of Gibson's Bakery and its owners against Oberlin College and its Dean of Students, the college launched a public relations campaign claiming, among other things, that the Gibsons really were racist even though the jury found the accusation of racial profiling false and defamatory. For those of you new to this issue, see the following posts regarding the post-trial public relations campaign:

    Oberlin College has been in the throes of turmoil for a decade. Aggressive, and sometimes absurd, social justice warfare hit the school's image and enrollment long before the Gibson's Bakery lawsuit and massive verdict. The latest controversy surrounds cost-cutting in an attempt to narrow a multi-million dollar 'structural deficit'. While there have been some cutbacks at administrative and faculty levels, the college now is attempting to jettison it's unionized custodial and dining hall workers.

    All has been quiet lately on the Gibson's Bakery v. Oberlin College front. The case is on appeal, with a short remand to the trial court to memorialize certain oral trial rulings so that the record is complete for appeal. As we documented previously, there is ancillary litigation in the trial court by certain Cleveland media interests seeking to unseal confidential Facebook records of Allyn D. Gibson, the bakery clerk who stopped the Oberlin College student from shoplifting. That turned into a scuffle, arrests of three students, and the protests, boycotts, lawsuit, and jury trial.