A Lorain County, Ohio, jury on Friday nuked Oberlin College with an $11 million verdict, finding that the school and its dean of students, Meredith Raimondo, had libeled and harmed local business Gibson’s Bakery over a 2016 incident in which the store had had three shoplifters arrested. The trio, who pled to the charges in 2017, were black Oberlin students who quickly instigated protests — abetted by very willing school officials, acting in their formal roles — claiming Gibson’s was a racist business.
An overboard campaign to harm Gibson’s was a given in this climate: one of America’s most progressive colleges, amped-up leftist administrators (surely stewing over Trump’s victory), a student body loaded with social-justice warriors, an ignored crime (the kids were indeed stealing booze, and indeed pummeling the owner for attempting to stop them), “harassed” minorities, contrived claims of “a history of racial profiling,” a white-run local business, a convenient spot to protest.
And now a jury has begun to hand Oberlin and Raimondo the bill. Tomorrow begins the punitive (as opposed to compensatory) phase of its considerations. The total price tag could reach over $30 million.
This is a remarkable and likely far-reaching case. The defense’s claims are amazing. The background, the suits filed, daily reports from the trial, videos, analyses — our friends at Legal Insurrection have done an excellent job covering it. It’s worth a deep dive.