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June 11, 2019

Penalty Phase in Gibson Bakery/Oberlin Defamation Case Begins Today

I missed this story on Friday night -- Oberlin students, with the encouragement of Oberlin College (Lena Dunham's alma mater), defamed a fifth-generation family of bakers as "racists" for calling on the cops on students who later admitted their guilt.

A jury agreed with the bakers that the college had encouraged/facilitated the nasty defamation campaign that harmed their business -- and awarded them $11 million in purely compensatory damages.

That's a big chunk of change. And it gets worse for Oberlin.

For one thing, Oberlin's insurer might very well refuse to pay the $11 million, as insurers usually do not pay if the act which incurs liability is a deliberate act.

The insurer, Lexington, already made this clear in a motion filed with the court in this matter:

Lexington issued a Commercial Umbrella Liability policy that potentially provides coverage to defendants Oberlin College aka Oberlin College and Conservatory ("Oberlin") and Meredith Raimondo for certain damages in this action. Lexington seeks intervention in this action for the limited purpose of submitting interrogatories to the jury in order to determine facts at issue in this action that would impact coverage under its policy.

The Lexington policy does not provide coverage for "bodily injury" or "property damage" intentionally caused by defendants.

Now, to be honest, I don't know if damage to a business' reputation and financial health can fairly be called "property damage," which is a term with a longstanding, well-understood meaning.

But they continue:

While the Lexington policy potentially provides coverage in relation to "personal and advertising injury," defined to include defamation and/or disparagement in certain circumstances, the Lexington policy excludes any such coverage if "personal and advertising injury" is caused "with the knowledge that the act would violate the rights of another... ," or if the insured published material it knew to be false.

So they're pursuing a denial of claim based on two theories, one a little stronger than the other. And a third claim, too: That Oberlin did not cooperate with the insurer as far as participating in the defense in the lawsuit.

Here's a possible bit of further bad news: Professor Jacobsen at Legal Insurrection notes that Oberlin put out a press statement blasting the jury in the case right before that same jury is to make a decision on how much the punitive damages against Oberlin should be.

They're not sequestered. They read this stuff.

The next stage is a punitive damages hearing, since the jury found the defendants acted with intent and malice. A separate punitive damages hearing is required under the Ohio Tort Reform legislation that passed several years ago. The point is to keep some of the more inflammatory evidence that does not go to liability or compensatory damages away from the jury during the initial deliberations. That additional evidence relevant to punitive damages could include information as to the wealth of the defendants, but also additional information supporting the need for punishment.

In this context, there is nothing more baffling than a statement sent to alumni after the verdict by Donica Thomas Varner, Oberlin College’s Vice President and General Counsel.

The statement was contained in a mass email sent to alumni (and possibly others) criticizing the jury verdict and repeating the same stale defenses that failed at trial (emphasis added)...

Hit the link to read the statement.

The Daily Caller notes that this latest Social Justice Warrior "hoax" will be a costly one.

"Raimondo," mentioned below, is Meredith Raimondo, the Vice President of the school and Dean of Students who is apparently quite the little rabble-rouser.

The lawsuit stemmed from a 2016 incident involving three black Oberlin students who claimed they were victims of racial profiling even though one was caught openly shoplifting and trying to use a fake ID to buy alcohol. When Allyn Gibson followed the student out of the store and confronted him, "the two got into a physical altercation," the Chronical-Telegram reported. When the two other students joined in, police said all three were hitting Allen Gibson, who was on the ground. All three students pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges and denied that Allyn's actions were racially motivated in August 2017.

After the incident, however, Oberlin College faculty and students engaged in a series of protests against the bakery, urged people to boycott, and Raimondo even made a flyer accusing the store of regularly racial profiling its customers.

The college reportedly contended that it merely allowed students to engage in free speech.

There's the hook for the college's liability -- as well as Raimondo's personal liability.

Above, I called Raimondo "quite the little rabble-rouser." Even as I wrote that, I thought, "Oh Lord, she is almost certainly not 'little.'"


Yes, that is more or less precisely how I imagined this sort of person would look. Eternally, unquenchably vengeful against society and God.

And understandbly so!

Today begins the punitive damage phase of the trial. It is expected that the plaintiffs will receive an additional $22 million reward as punishment for their malicious, deliberate acts.

It is time to begin suing the living shit out of these people. They think that Life Is Twitter, where they can defame anyone and destroy businesses and careers without censure -- at least without censure by Twitter, that itself encourages such witch-hunts.

But Life is not Twitter. It's time to get these cases away from Twitter's "Trust and Safety Council" and in front of juries of normies who are not social justice warriors and do not subscribe to the notion that defamation and lies are perfectly valid tactics when fighting against Nazi Baked Goods and Fascist Pastry.

The plaintiffs' lawyer made a similar point:

"I think part of what we did here today is answer the question as to, 'What are we going to tolerate in our society?'" attorney Owen Rarric said. "We're hopeful that this is a sign that not only Oberlin College, but in the future, powerful institutions, will hesitate before trying to crush the little guy."

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posted by Ace of Spades at 02:54 PM

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