Gibson’s Bakery – a 135-year-old family business located near the campus of Oberlin College has reaped a new record for defamation lawsuit in Ohio at just over $31 million dollars. Back in 2016, three Black men tried to shoplift bottles of wine from the bakery but were caught. One of the men attacked an employee when they were asked about the theft. The campus went nuts and called the bakery racists with support from the college.
The three men pleaded guilty to the attempted theft and in written testimony admitted that race had nothing to do with their arrest. Following the incident, the Oberlin College student senate passed a resolution claiming that the bakery “has a history of racial profiling and discriminatory treatment of students and residents alike.” Yet they were unable to provide proof that the bakery had any history of being racist.
The Senate called for a boycott by students to deprive the bakery of business needed to remain open. They also called on Oberlin College President Marvin Krislov to publicly condemn the bakery.
The bakery launched a lawsuit in 2017 and they won their case and were awarded $40 million dollars and which was later reduced to $25 million, plus $6.2 million for the bakery’s lawyer fees. The college then appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the college was ordered to pay the $31.2 million the bakery won in the original lawsuit.
On Thursday, Ohio’s Ninth District Court of Appeals upheld the previous court decision and ruled that Oberlin College must pay more than $31 million to Gibson’s Bakery.
The decision cited “the active role that Oberlin played in the publication of the Senate Resolution” that demanded a boycott of the bakery, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.
“At trial, it was absolutely clear to the jury (as reflected by the verdict) that there was not a shred of truth in the vicious statements about the Gibsons and that the College caused the devastating harm,” the law firm representing the Gibson family proclaimed. “The truth prevailed.”
An Oberlin spokesperson issued a statement to Legal Insurrection saying that the school was “obviously disappointed that the appeals court affirmed the judgment in its ruling earlier today.”