Ohio Jury Hits Oberlin College For $44 Million in Damages Over Anti-Bakery Protests

Family bakery targeted by college activists with false racism accusations

An Ohio jury awarded Thursday a maximum $33 million in punitive damages to a local bakery targeted by Oberlin College protesters, triple the $11 million in compensatory damages announced in last week’s verdict.

The owners of Gibson’s Bakery, a fixture in the college town since 1885, sued Oberlin in 2017 for libel, business interference and emotional distress after being beset by demonstrators over a shoplifting incident, arguing that the students were aided by the college.

The Thursday decision would bring the total awarded to the Gibson family and business to $44 million, but the punitive award is likely to be reduced to $22 million based on the state cap, which would bring the total to $33 million, according to Cornell Law School professor William A. Jacobson, whose Legal Insurrection blog has covered the trial in Elyria, Ohio.

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Cornelius Rupert T.
Cornelius Rupert T.