Dem judge slashes damages in HALF for Oberlin College suit
- A judge has nearly halved the damages awarded to Gibson’s Bakery, which previously won a defamation lawsuit against Oberlin College.
- The jury originally awarded $44 million to the bakery in punitive and compensatory damages after members of Oberlin protested and labeled the bakery racist.
- Damages have now been reduced to just $25 million.
A Democrat judge nearly halved the damages awarded to a bakery that previously won a lawsuit against Oberlin College for defamation.
After Oberlin College filed a motion on June 21 to cap damages given to the bakery, Judge John Miraldi, who ran as a Democrat in 2018, ruled on Thursday that the bakery will only receive $25 million from the school in punitive and compensatory damages, as opposed to the original $44 million, according to The Toledo Blade.
The judge made the decision on the grounds that punitive damages must not exceed twice the sum of compensatory damages, according to Ohio law. Compensatory damages were determined to be around $11 million by the jury in this specific case.
Attorneys for Gibson’s Bakery argued that there were multiple claims in the case, including intentional infliction of emotional distress and libel, so the damages should have been applicable to each claim separately.
Lee Plakas, the attorney for Gibson’s bakery, had previously stated in an exclusive interview with Campus Reform that Oberlin was pushing “alternative facts” and that the college believed itself to be “above the law.”
This new decision by the judge comes after a jury previously sided with Gibson's Bakery, awarding it $44 million in damages upon determining that Oberlin’s employees defamed the bakery following an incident in which three minority students stole wine from the bakery back in 2016, as reported by Campus Reform.
The three minority students involved in the shoplifting all pleaded guilty to their charges and later admitted that the incident did not occur due to racism. Despite this, Oberlin College participated in defamatory behavior against the bakery for its allegedly racist behavior, the lawsuit stated.
Oberlin’s President Carmen Twillie Ambar refused to accept the jury's verdict, despite the students’ confession, and vowed to fight it.
"Let me be absolutely clear: This is not the final outcome," Ambar said after the jury’s original decision. “This is, in fact, just one step along the way of what may turn out to be a lengthy and complex legal process.”
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @ethanycai