Patterico's Pontifications

6/13/2019

LI: Punitive Damages Verdict in Bakery v Oberlin College

Filed under: Law — DRJ @ 1:15 pm



[Headline from DRJ]

LEGAL INSURRECTION:

Oberlin College hit with maximum PUNITIVE DAMAGES (capped at $22 million by law) in Gibson’s Bakery case

— DRJ

34 Responses to “LI: Punitive Damages Verdict in Bakery v Oberlin College”

  1. Now repeat at every indoctrination center that has tried to ruin someone for not being sufficiently “woke.”

    NJRob (7f99ee)

  2. Oberlin College is suddenly a proponent of tort reform and damages caps — which probably just saved them from another $11M in liability. Thank you for this update, DRJ!

    Beldar (fa637a)

  3. From LI’s link:

    Daniel McGraw, our reporter in the courtroom, reports that in addition to the $11.2 million compensatory damages awarded last Friday, the jury awarded a total of $33 million in punitive damages, which will probably be reduced by the court to $22 million because of the state law cap at twice compensatory (it’s not an absolute cap, but probably will apply here). That brings the total damages to $33 million. We will have the breakdown soon. The jury also awarded attorney’s fees, to be determined by the judge.

    DRJ (15874d)

  4. That would have been an interesting trial to watch.

    DRJ (15874d)

  5. It surely would have been, DRJ. I was vaguely aware of this case, but didn’t look at it more closely until your posts about it here, so thanks again.

    Of course, if I’d been there in person, I would have been insufferable to everyone around me, because I’d have been bouncing around like a jack-in-the-box, wanting desperately to actually be on my feet arguing — either side. So it’s hard for me to watch someone else’s trial: Like TR, my natural instinct is to be the baby at every christening, the bride at every wedding, and the corpse at every funeral.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  6. This is some welcome news for the little guys in the world, and for justice in these USA.

    felipe (023cc9)

  7. The jury also awarded attorneys’ fees which have to be set by the judge, so it’s probably going to be a total award in excess of $33 million; and I assume that bond has to be posted for any appeal and that interest begins to accrue when the judgment is final.

    Rochf (877dba)

  8. The photo of Meredith Raimondo was like she’s from central casting. The mud-fort bureaucrat who thought she was immune. The college will pay $33 million for what she (and others) did. Bet you she’s without a job by summer.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  9. The photo of Meredith Raimondo was like she’s from central casting. The mud-fort bureaucrat who thought she was immune. The college will pay $33 million for what she (and others) did. Bet you she’s without a job by summer.

    I’ll believe it, when I see it. The Left looks after their own.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  10. Justice was served. The jury made the left-wing bullies pay.

    Paul Montagu (cbbfc4)

  11. Bet you she’s without a job by summer.

    The joke’s on you – she has tenure.

    Dave (1bb933)

  12. “The joke’s on the school, its students and their parents – she has tenure.”

    Fyp

    Reminds me of Scott Peterson’s $100k/yr plus full medical retirement package.

    harkin (470cbb)

  13. Just imagine the letter the school’s general counsel is going to send to alum/donors this time……

    harkin (470cbb)

  14. If Oberlin is really losing student enrollment, as they claim, and if this mess leads alumni donations to dry up (which seems likely), this could be a school that goes the way of Antioch and just shuts down. That won’t be particularly good for the community to lose an anchor business that brings lots of revenue to town.

    The best case scenario here is that the Oberlin trustees clean house and can most of the administrators, as well as dial-back some of the administrative offices that have to do with social justice and that old racket “diversity.” But I kind of doubt that they will have that sort of courage. But hey, we’re forecast to lose a whole bunch of colleges over the coming years due to the high cost of education and the ongoing Baby Bust, so maybe Oberlin is as good a place as any to start.

    JVW (54fd0b)

  15. Meanwhile……

    Transgender woman targets Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips with ANOTHER lawsuit

    https://www.theblaze.com/news/masterpiece-cakeshop-jack-phillips-another-discrimination-lawsuit?xrs=RebelMouse_fb

    harkin (470cbb)

  16. Jacobsen basically tells it like it is:

    “Oberlin College tried to sacrifice a beloved 5th-generation bakery, its owners, and its employees, at the altar of political correctness in order to appease the campus ‘social justice warfare’ mob. The jury sent a clear message that the truth matters, and so do the reputations and lives of people targeted by false accusations, particularly when those false accusations are spread by powerful institutions. Throughout the trial the Oberlin College defense was tone-deaf and demeaning towards the bakery and its owners, calling the bakery nearly worthless. The jury sent a message that all lives matter, including the lives of ordinary working people who did nothing wrong other than stop people from stealing.”

    harkin (470cbb)

  17. #15
    Autumn Scardina (plaintiff) is a lawyer, partnered with her brother in their own law firm. Apparently she’s sued the cakemaker multiple times.

    Angelo (d7a0fe)

  18. JVW, there is such lunacy on so many campuses these days. I have seriously thought about quitting, but I am kind of old for starting over. Check that, I am old. Accusations can be leveled that destroy a business or a reputation, and accusers are not held responsible for the truth of their statements.

    Enrollments are dropping at most institutions, due to changing demographics. It’s been decided at most institutions to give more financial aid, and outreach to, um, folks with unusual points of view. And trust me, STEM is not safe.

    Oberlin has always been a far left place, but it used to give a quality education. I would love to believe that the shock of this would lead to changes in the administration of the place. I truly hope so.

    Education and training are good things. Politics and personalities should not be an issue. Yet they are, nowadays. And the Evergreen Effect is real (bad PR = decreased enrollments). So digits interposed.

    Simon Jester (5a51a5)

  19. In Illinois, Oberlin would be looking at around a $60 million appeal bond, from which a check would be cut to the Gibsons when all the appeals were over. That is, if Oberlin wanted to appeal. I won’t speculate about Ohio’s rules — Legal Insurrection will tell us soon enough.

    nk (dbc370)

  20. It was, of course, the inability of Texaco Inc. to post a $12B supersedeas bond required by Texas law to stay enforcement of the trial court judgment that forced its bankruptcy, even though the company’s net worth exceeded the amount of the Pennzoil judgment. Likewise, Gawker’s bankruptcy was forced by its inability to post the $50M bond required under Florida law to stay enforcement of Hulk Hogan’s $140M judgment against it.

    No bond is required before the trial court’s judgment becomes final, which means that Oberlin College still has a last roll of the dice, via a motion for new trial in the trial court, before it has to face this issue. But one can be sure that its board and counsel are already considering this issue, and that it is likely to lead to serious new settlement discussions before the trial judge rules on Oberlin’s motion for new trial.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  21. Some of the comments about this case on the liberal Lawyers, Guns and Money blog are interesting. I guess even some lefties find Oberlin annoying.

    James B. Shearer (667387)

  22. I hope the Gibsons and Oberlin can reach a settlement agreement. The numbers are the satisfaction for the Plaintiffs but actually getting money now, instead of years from now, would be almost as satisfying.

    DRJ (15874d)

  23. Nah! I want the Gibsons to levy on the Oberlin dorms and parking lot, and then resell them to the Trump Organization to build a hotel and casino.

    nk (dbc370)

  24. To the National Rifle Association to build a regional headquarters, hotel and shooting range?

    nk (dbc370)

  25. If Oberlin is really losing student enrollment, as they claim, and if this mess leads alumni donations to dry up (which seems likely), this could be a school that goes the way of Antioch and just shuts down. That won’t be particularly good for the community to lose an anchor business that brings lots of revenue to town.

    I wouldn’t put too much stock in the gloomy forecast they spun to try to reduce their liability.

    Enrollments are dropping at most institutions, due to changing demographics.

    It looks to me like a tiny statistical ripple after the tidal wave of the previous decades (55% increase between 1990 and 2010):

    https://www.statista.com/statistics/183995/us-college-enrollment-and-projections-in-public-and-private-institutions/

    Dave (1bb933)

  26. @ DRJ (#22): I agree, and join you in hoping that there will be serious discussions culminating in an agreed settlement.

    I suspect the negotiations will include non-cash components, on the order of a promise by Oberlin to go and sin no more. If I were Oberlin’s counsel, I’d be making a list of all the crow-based dishes I could serve up for my client’s public consumption that actually cost it little or nothing in hard dollars — sweeteners to go along with the cash component, which I’d expect to be in the $15-$25M range.

    Of course, the client has to actually agree to swallow all that crow. And from the prior history of the litigation (which surely included mediation attempts that failed and remain private), the board and Oberlin’s other controlling individuals may still be feeling all self-righteous. (Texaco certainly did.) That is to say, despite the suddenly changed circumstances, Oberlin may follow their SJW muses directly over the edge of the cliff.

    But another thing that often happens at this stage of a case — surprise, surprise, and yes, it happened with Texaco too — is that the former lawyers are fired and declared nunc pro tunc sons-of-bitches, prompting new lawyers to be brought in. After a decent but brief interval (consistent with and limited by the briefing schedule on motions for new trial), new counsel will help Oberlin craft a list of the real or imagined lapses by fired counsel, the randomness and injustice of the jury trial system (“Jury of our peers? As if! Don’t they know we’re board members/college executives/faculty representatives?”), the phases of the moon, global warming, or whatever combination of other contributing factors they can come up with to justify a near-capitulation settlement. The list is then used by the board to explain to all their alumni, friends, and supporters, “The lawyers told us we had to do this, and our duty to the future of the institution required that we consent to this horribly oppressive $__M settlement. (Pls send $.)”

    Beldar (fa637a)

  27. Hmm, I’ve got a comment in moderation. Perhaps it was too salty.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  28. I found and approved it Beldar. It is #26.

    DRJ (15874d)

  29. I think your analysis is spot on. My feeling is that Oberlin won’t want to eat crow. Hopefully there are some influential alumni who will help them … or at least set the table.

    DRJ (15874d)

  30. The npt-sob rule is applicable to this White House, too.

    DRJ (15874d)

  31. Oberlin was the “O” in the CMOG* cluster of liberal arts schools that my high school would send about 15-20 kids to. My senior class was the last to throw away its parents money like this…the fall of my sophomore year of college I saw much of the incoming freshman from this same demographic cohort (Hyde Park white and bougie black kids) slumming it with me at Champaign. Frankly I’m surprised that Carleton-Macalester-Oberlin-Grinnell have survived nearly 30 years out from that time.

    urbanleftbehind (03583d)

  32. #32–when were you at Champaign? I went there for school and then returned years later.

    Rochf (877dba)

  33. James B. Shearer @21.

    The thread on the Lawyers, Guns and Money blog is not obviously titled. It’s this: (unless there’s an earlier one)

    http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2019/06/the-writers-arent-really-trying-at-all-at-this-point

    Sammy Finkelman (1c27d2)


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