Oberlin College must pay a record $31 million to a family bakery that accused the school of ruining its business with false accusations of racism, according to three judges of the Ninth District Court of Appeals, which returned a 3-0 decision upholding a 2019 ruling in the case. The award is the largest libel verdict in Ohio history.
Gibson’s Bakery, a 135-year-old family business near Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio, was attacked after a 2016 incident in which the owner’s son confronted three black Oberlin students who were stealing wine in the store, according to a Washington report. Examiner.
One of the students was caught stealing bottles of wine from the store, Cleveland.com reports.
While the suspects were arrested and later admitted for shoplifting, the ordeal nonetheless sparked school-sanctioned protests and allegations of racism, which hampered store operations.
In 2019, Lorain County Judge John Miraldi initially awarded the bakery more than $40 million in punitive and compensatory damages, but it was later reduced to $25 million. The bakery also received over $6 million for attorney fees.
Three Ninth District Court of Appeals judges have now issued a 3-0 ruling upholding Judge Miraldi’s 2019 decision.
“At trial, it was absolutely clear to the jury (as evidenced by the verdict) that there was not a grain of truth in the vicious statements about the Gibsons and that the College had caused devastating damage,” they said. Gibson family lawyers after winning. the case. “The truth prevailed.”
The $31 million award would be the largest libel verdict in Ohio history.
Although the students are guilty, Oberlin College and top administrators — including the school’s vice president and dean of students — have accused the bakery of racial profiling, claiming the bakery’s owner and d Other employees had assaulted the students and had a history of racism, notes the Washington Examiner.
After Judge Miraldi’s 2019 decision, Oberlin College refused to apologize to Gibson’s Bakery to avoid offending students with “different perspectives.”
During the trial, the jury allegedly heard evidence that college officials even distributed flyers containing the false accusations and encouraged students to boycott and protest the bakery.
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