An appeals court has upheld a verdict that says a Ohio college must pay the bakery it labeled as racist up to $31 million.
Oberlin College in Ohio has been ordered by three judges on the Ninth District Court of Appeals to pay a record $31 million to a 135-year-old mom-and-pop bakery that the institution falsely accused of racism. The bakery was labeled as racist by the college in Ohio when in 2016, the family business' owner confronted three Black Oberlin College students who stole wine from the store.
According to Cleveland.com, the lawsuit was about an incident that occurred in November 2016, when Allyn Gibson, the son of bakery owner David Gibson, stopped and confronted three Black students from Oberlin College. One of them was caught stealing wine bottles from the store. The three Black students were arrested, but then other students from Oberlin College began protesting the 135-year old family bakery.
The three students pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor in 2017 and also read statements in court that confirmed Gibson's actions that day were not racially motivated. However, Oberlin College students retaliated by refusing to purchase baked goods from Gibson's bakery for a month after the incidents. Other students also handed out fliers outside the bakery, convincing customers to take their business elsewhere.
The Washington Examiner reported that despite the students pleading guilty to the theft, the key officials and vice president and dean of students of Oberlin College accused the bakery of racial profiling and claimed that its owner, David Gibson, who later died in 2019 from pancreatic cancer, and the employees, assaulted the students and had a history of racism. Oberlin College is a small liberal arts college in northern Ohio and has been known for its left-wing politics.
In 2017, Gibson's Bakery filed legal action against Oberlin College, alleging that the school and an administrator hurt their business and committed libel against the small business. Two years later in June 2019, the case was decided after a Lorain County jury found Oberlin College and its vice president acted inappropriately toward the family business.
Lorain County Judge John Miraldi initially ordered an award for Gibson's Bakery of more than $40 million in punitive and compensatory damages. The award was later reduced to $25 million plus more than $6 million for lawyers' fees.
Now, three judges on the Ninth District Court of Appeals have unanimously decided to uphold Judge Miraldi's 2019 ruling, Breitbart reported. The $31 million award ordered by the appeals court is reportedly the largest defamation verdict in the history of Ohio.
"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," legal representatives of the Gibson family said after the case was won. "The truth prevailed."
Following Judge Miraldi's 2019 ruling, Oberlin College refused to apologize to Gibson's Bakery to avoid presenting students with "different perspectives." The school has long produced several left-wing alumni, including actress Lena Dunham, former Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, liberal activist Nan Aron, and conservative pundit Michelle Malkin, who was happy to see her alma mater being punished for its missteps.
"For decades, grievance-mongering Oberlin elites have bullied and defamed innocent white people without consequences in their multicultural Ohio enclave," Malkin wrote in 2019 for the Daily Signal. "False racial allegations and toxic identity politics are the bread and butter of Oberlin campus life."