Gibson’s Bakery filed a cross-appeal brief Monday after Oberlin College filed its appeals brief last week seeking to overturn a trial court’s decision which made the college pay the bakery $25 million in damages.
The damages relate to Oberlin College making defamatory statements about the bakery after three minority students plead guilty to shoplifting. After these three students plead guilty, Oberlin College students not involved in the case accused Gibson’s Bakery of racial profiling, held protests outside the bakery, and said the store had “a long account of racial profiling and discrimination.”
Last year, Judge John Miraldi cut Oberlin College’s compensation to the bakery from $44 million ($11 million compensatory and $33 million in punitive damages) to $25 million after he decided that “punitive damages must not exceed twice the sum of compensatory damages, according to Ohio law.”
Gibson’s Bakery cross-appeal brief says the bakery is entitled to all the punitive damage amounts the jury awarded it without any statutory punitive cap.
“To rigidly rely upon a simple mathematical formula when setting punitive damages violates due
course and due process of law under the Constitutions of the United States and the State of Ohio and also violates the constitutional right to trial by jury,” the brief says.
Gibson’s Bakery is seeking the original $33.2 million in punitive damage, which comes from $11 million in compensatory, and $22 million in punitive after state caps.
In the appeals brief the school filed Friday, the brief argues Oberlin College is being held liable for student speech.
“This appeal arises out of a protest by Oberlin students of a well-known bakery bordering the campus on Tappan Square. Believing that Allyn Gibson Jr.’s public altercation with a black student – stemming from the bakery’s chase-and-detain policy – was racially motivated, the students called for a boycott,” the brief says.”The bakery and its owners sued Oberlin, claiming it should have censored its students’ speech.”
Oberlin College’s brief also argues that a new trial should be held in this case.
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Zachery Schmidt is the digital editor of Star News Digital Media. If you have any tips, email Zachery at [email protected] Follow Zachery on Twitter @zacheryschmidt2.