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Old 06-25-2019, 05:50 PM
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Oberlin college and free speech debate


I dont know if this has been discussed, but I wanted to discuss the case of Oberlin college vs a local bakery. It seems that in 2016 a black student was confronted for shoplifting and him and 2 friends got into a fight with the bakery store clerk and were later arrested for it. Many students at the college started protesting the bakery because they felt the charges were racist and bakery itself was racist. The bakery eventually sued the college because it feels like the college's administrators actively supported the protests and used school resources to accuse the bakery of racism which cost them alot of business. The jury awarded $11 million then another $33 million for more damages.

How had the college supported the protests? THIS article says an administrator from the college was there with a bullhorn egging the students on and helped by handing out flyers called the business racist. The school also sent over pizza and drinks to the students protesting. Although THIS OPPOSING article says the administrator only attended as a bystander and just to make sure everyone was safe.

Furthermore THIS article said the school also demanded the bakery drop all charges against the shoplifters and in the future, if students are caught stealing, to call them instead of police.

Now from what I read, this has sent a message to other colleges that they also might be sued for things their students do and they either support or do little to stop. The Oberlin college president thinks so.

This article says it also fallows a recurring "Town vs Gown" issue.


Now the question I'd like to debate is, will or should colleges be held liable if their students protest a private business?

Will this suit encourage other people to sue a college if its students protest them?

What do you all think?
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Old 06-25-2019, 05:52 PM
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I think if those are your questions you shouldn't have brought up Gibson's Bakery and Oberlin College.
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Old 06-25-2019, 05:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Urbanredneck View Post
Now the question I'd like to debate is, will or should colleges be held liable if their students protest a private business?
Well, if that's your question, then the answer is obviously no.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Urbanredneck View Post
Will this suit encourage other people to sue a college if its students protest them?
If all that's happening is that the students are protesting them? Maybe, if the people considering the suit are titanically stupid and don't mind wasting everyone's time and money on a frivolous and unjustified suit.

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Originally Posted by Urbanredneck View Post
What do you all think?
I think that your OP moves the goalpost all the way from one end of the field to the other.
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Old 06-25-2019, 06:06 PM
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Friendly reminder that this particular grift is ongoing right-wing propaganda.

Do note:

"THIS article" is the National Review Online, known right-wing propaganda outlet.

"THIS OPPOSING article" is a local paper directly on the ground.

One of these sources is trustworthy. The other is not. No points for guessing which is which.

Anyways, this is one of those cases where the mask slips. As the Oberlin Review put it:

Quote:
The jury sided with the Gibsons — a decision with profoundly disturbing implications for free speech at Oberlin and on college campuses across an increasingly authoritarian country. Conservative commentators often talk about a supposed crisis of free speech on campuses, wherein students wield the sword of political correctness to silence dissenting opinions. To the contrary, this verdict is a real warning shot against free speech. The fact that those same commentators have widely lauded the verdict reveals their hypocrisy and lays their thinly-veiled agenda bare.
Students are being told to shut up about perceived racism from a business, and the college is facing lawsuits for supporting the students. I'm sure Dave Rubin will be on the case any day now.
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Old 06-25-2019, 06:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Budget Player Cadet View Post
Friendly reminder that this particular grift is ongoing right-wing propaganda.

Do note:

"THIS article" is the National Review Online, known right-wing propaganda outlet.

"THIS OPPOSING article" is a local paper directly on the ground.

One of these sources is trustworthy. The other is not. No points for guessing which is which.

Anyways, this is one of those cases where the mask slips. As the Oberlin Review put it:



Students are being told to shut up about perceived racism from a business, and the college is facing lawsuits for supporting the students. I'm sure Dave Rubin will be on the case any day now.
Well the business was not only getting protested, but called racist by flyers handed out by students with support from the college. That alone would make them pretty mad. Then add in the college demanding the bakery drop all charges and call them instead of the police if any future shoplifting occurs makes it look like the college is trying to bully the bakery.
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Old 06-25-2019, 06:24 PM
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Well, if that's your question, then the answer is obviously no.

If all that's happening is that the students are protesting them? Maybe, if the people considering the suit are titanically stupid and don't mind wasting everyone's time and money on a frivolous and unjustified suit.

I think that your OP moves the goalpost all the way from one end of the field to the other.
Well the point here is that the college actively supported the students.

I mean is it really different than other cases like the Duke lacrosse case where the school was also sued, not just for actions of the students, but actions by administrators?

Finally if someone is standing in front of your business screaming at your customers and handing our flyers calling you a racist, should you be allowed to sue for slander?
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Old 06-25-2019, 06:30 PM
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If the College directly assisted in the matter, then yes, it is by extension liable. Imagine if Liberty University helped out a protest against a local Planned Parenthood clinic this way, for instance.
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Old 06-25-2019, 06:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Urbanredneck View Post
Well the business was not only getting protested, but called racist by flyers handed out by students with support from the college. That alone would make them pretty mad. Then add in the college demanding the bakery drop all charges and call them instead of the police if any future shoplifting occurs makes it look like the college is trying to bully the bakery.
I don't think the students were worried about making the shop owners mad.

And I didn't see anything in your cite (the one that I would consider potentially truthful) about the supposed demands by the college, so I'm not convinced that happened.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Urbanredneck View Post
Well the point here is that the college actively supported the students.

I mean is it really different than other cases like the Duke lacrosse case where the school was also sued, not just for actions of the students, but actions by administrators?

Finally if someone is standing in front of your business screaming at your customers and handing our flyers calling you a racist, should you be allowed to sue for slander?
I'm not convinced that the college actively supported the students in any way that moral people would hold against them. However I will concede that immoral people and liars will continue to fraudulently sue colleges over the actions of their students, because the colleges have the money.

ETA: For slander, don't you have to prove they were lying?

Last edited by begbert2; 06-25-2019 at 06:31 PM.
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Old 06-25-2019, 08:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Budget Player Cadet View Post
Friendly reminder that this particular grift is ongoing right-wing propaganda.

Do note:

"THIS article" is the National Review Online, known right-wing propaganda outlet.

"THIS OPPOSING article" is a local paper directly on the ground.

One of these sources is trustworthy. The other is not. No points for guessing which is which.

Anyways, this is one of those cases where the mask slips. As the Oberlin Review put it:



Students are being told to shut up about perceived racism from a business, and the college is facing lawsuits for supporting the students. I'm sure Dave Rubin will be on the case any day now.
While I definitely agree with you about the National Review, I hardly think that Oberlin themselves is going to be unbiased. Quite the contrary.
Better off going with multiple sources and seeing what they say, and from what I've gathered about this, they were indeed harassing the cafe. The Salon article doesn't paint a very flattering picture of the students, and Salon has certainly never been a very right-wing friendly website. Quite the opposite.

The Blade's account seemed more neutral and presented views from both sides.


The college itself? That's debatable. IF they actually aided the students in their harassment, then I think they should be made to answer for it.
But I think there's no question that the students themselves should be held accountable. Vandalizing private property and harassing the owners and staff is NOT simply "protesting perceived racism".
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Old 06-26-2019, 01:13 AM
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Boycotts and extortion aren’t right to support thieves.

Secondly, colleges need to get their noses out of law enforcement. Many can barely make their students economically viable what makes them think they can also be judge and jury?
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Old 06-26-2019, 01:43 AM
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There's nothing illegal or wrong about a boycott, for any reason. Nobody is required to shop at a place.
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Old 06-26-2019, 03:33 AM
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There's nothing illegal or wrong about a boycott, for any reason. Nobody is required to shop at a place.
Illegal no? Wrong? Very much so. Especially under the ridiculous terms the college was demanding.
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Old 06-26-2019, 05:52 AM
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I dont know if this has been discussed, but I wanted to discuss the case of Oberlin college vs a local bakery.
Discuss away! I'd never heard of the incident until I started clicking your links and immediately got sidetracked. It seems the N.Y. Times — the venerable New York Times for God's sake! — has hired two right-wing liars so that it can be "fair and balanced" also. Bahhh! I want to throw up.

So ... some of us are outraged that the bakery was given a mere $33 million because some Americans exercised free speech? Is this the biggest injustice underway in the U.S.A. today?

I'll ask OP and other thread participants what they think of armed militants shutting down the Oregon state government with active encouragement from the GOP. Answer that question; THEN I'll take time to study the latest bakery incident and comment on that.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 06-26-2019, 06:08 AM
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That’s a pretty thorough example of threadshitting septimus.

You don’t like a thread topic? Don’t post in it. You want to discuss something else? Start a thread.

What you don’t do is denigrate someone else’s thread because it’s not the thread you wanted to start.

Warning issued. Don’t do it again.
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Old 06-26-2019, 08:36 AM
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And I didn't see anything in your cite (the one that I would consider potentially truthful) about the supposed demands by the college, so I'm not convinced that happened.
I'm not convinced that the college actively supported the students in any way that moral people would hold against them. However I will concede that immoral people and liars will continue to fraudulently sue colleges over the actions of their students, because the colleges have the money.

ETA: For slander, don't you have to prove they were lying?
Ok, thanks for your comments. I would like to answer you response "I'm not convinced that the college actively supported the students in any way that moral people would hold against them."

I looked around again and found THIS article by The Atlantic.

Here are some quotes:


"
_ Oberlin employees were among those who distributed a boycott flyer, and they allowed it to be copied for free on school machines. It declared without evidence that the bakery was a “racist establishment with a long account of racial profiling and discrimination” and called its behavior toward the three students who broke the law there “heinous.”

_ Reed, Raimondo, and some Oberlin professors “raised their fists in support of the demonstration,” with some of them “shouting the defamatory statements on a bullhorn, thereby assuring that a large audience would hear their defamatory statements.”

_ Credit was given to students who attended the protest in lieu of classes, and administrators bought them food to support them."

Does that imply the college supported the protesters?

Furthermore it was pointed out the bakery owners and Oberlin attempted to have a sit down and talk this over but Oberlin administrators just went on the attack:

"
The lawsuit goes on to allege that when David Gibson sat down with administrators to tell them about the devastating effect that defamation, boycotts, demonstrations, and refusal to do business with Gibson’s were having on his family’s store, Oberlin administrators sought to negotiate special treatment for shoplifting students in exchange for resuming relations with the bakery.

The complaint described the meeting as follows:

Gibson requested that Oberlin College immediately retract the defamatory statements and reinstate its contracts … Defendants represented that they would consider reinstating business … but only if Gibson’s Bakery would agree that “Gibson’s would not push criminal charges against first-time shoplifters” … Gibson’s Bakery already loses thousands of dollars a year due to stolen merchandise, and such losses would certainly multiply if students learned they could steal without repercussion.
"

Sounds pretty darn arrogant to me. The college administrators showed no compassion to the bakery and were clearly in attack mode.

And your other question: " For slander, don't you have to prove they were lying?"

Well it seems they were lying. In the article it points out several examples by current and former black employees that the business was NOT racist. Even the student who was arrested for shoplifting said it wasnt racially based.
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Old 06-26-2019, 08:40 AM
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If the College directly assisted in the matter, then yes, it is by extension liable. Imagine if Liberty University helped out a protest against a local Planned Parenthood clinic this way, for instance.
Yes I totally agree. I'm guessing every college in the country right now is reviewing how it should handle such matters and sending out emails telling staff that if students want to protest something, they should stay far away from it.
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Old 06-26-2019, 09:23 AM
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There's one part I'm missing from all the coverage of this story: I have heard from former Oberlin students that Gibson's was known for racism for many, many, many years before this shoplifting incident. The shoplifting is merely the thing that broke the camel's back. These former Obies cannot understand how the college can defame the family if the accusation is well-founded.

I, too, have a hard time understandning how Gibson's could be entitled to $11 million in compensatory damages. Shit, their whole store and everything in it isn't worth $11 million!

I'm also puzzled as to how the college could be put on the hook for such vast sums, for what seems to be a second-fiddle role in the boycott. Does this imply that the student protesters themselves, had they been sued, would have been subject to even greater penalties?
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Old 06-26-2019, 09:42 AM
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_ Oberlin employees were among those who distributed a boycott flyer, and they allowed it to be copied for free on school machines. It declared without evidence that the bakery was a “racist establishment with a long account of racial profiling and discrimination” and called its behavior toward the three students who broke the law there “heinous.”

_ Reed, Raimondo, and some Oberlin professors “raised their fists in support of the demonstration,” with some of them “shouting the defamatory statements on a bullhorn, thereby assuring that a large audience would hear their defamatory statements.”

_ Credit was given to students who attended the protest in lieu of classes, and administrators bought them food to support them."

Does that imply the college supported the protesters?
The jury found that it did, and it sounds that way to me as well.

Oberlin seems to suffer from the common desire to make "free speech" mean "speech that is free from consequence". That's hardly limited to the left.

Things don't always work the same outside the bubble as inside. "It's racist when you complain to the police when people steal from you" doesn't resonate the same when you are talking about somebody else's money.

Regards,
Shodan
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Old 06-26-2019, 09:49 AM
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There's one part I'm missing from all the coverage of this story: I have heard from former Oberlin students that Gibson's was known for racism for many, many, many years before this shoplifting incident. The shoplifting is merely the thing that broke the camel's back. These former Obies cannot understand how the college can defame the family if the accusation is well-founded.
Maybe the Obies you talked to are full of it? Is this "well founded accusation" based on actual practices of the business or some vibe people got off the owners? Because in that last Atlantic article linked above:
Quote:
After that initial round of protests, Oberlin caved to student demands to cancel all its business with the bakery. Later, an Oberlin Police Department investigation, undertaken to probe accusations of racist behavior at the bakery, found that among 40 adults arrested for shoplifting at the business in a five-year period, six were black, suggesting vigilant enforcement against people of all races.
and
Quote:
Daniel McGraw, who covered the trial for Legal Insurrection, reported on an email that Emily Crawford, who worked in the school’s communications department, sent to her bosses, who forwarded it to other administrators. “I have talked to 15 townie friends who are poc (persons of color) and they are disgusted and embarrassed by the protest,” she warned. “In their view, the kid was breaking the law, period … To them this is not a race issue at all and they do not believe the Gibsons are racist. They believe the students have picked the wrong target … I find this misdirected rage very disturbing, and it’s only going to widen the gap (between) town and gown.”
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Old 06-26-2019, 09:59 AM
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There's one part I'm missing from all the coverage of this story: I have heard from former Oberlin students that Gibson's was known for racism for many, many, many years before this shoplifting incident. The shoplifting is merely the thing that broke the camel's back. These former Obies cannot understand how the college can defame the family if the accusation is well-founded.

I, too, have a hard time understandning how Gibson's could be entitled to $11 million in compensatory damages. Shit, their whole store and everything in it isn't worth $11 million!

I'm also puzzled as to how the college could be put on the hook for such vast sums, for what seems to be a second-fiddle role in the boycott. Does this imply that the student protesters themselves, had they been sued, would have been subject to even greater penalties?
Good points.

According this article:

"
David Gibson – $17.5 million punitive damages

Allyn W. Gibson — $8.75 million punitive damages

Gibson Bros. Inc. (the Bakery) – $6,973,500 punitive damages
"

Also to address your statement that the bakery wasnt worth it the article says:

"“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.”
"

As to your point "I have heard from former Oberlin students that Gibson's was known for racism for many, many, many years before this shoplifting incident."

Well no, the college itself has admitted that there was NO history of racism from the bakery. The college itself admits this in a letter shown in this article sent out from the college:

"
Dear Oberlin College Community,

Many of you are aware of an incident involving three Oberlin College students at Gibson’s Bakery on November 9, 2016. These three students have been charged with robbery, simple assault and attempted petty theft-shoplifting. Their cases are now being prosecuted in the criminal justice system.

We would like to reaffirm that Oberlin College respects the rule of law and believes that no individuals should expect, nor receive, special treatment, regardless of their affiliation with any institution, their gender, their skin color, or any other grouping.

Oberlin College has enjoyed a very long term relationship with Gibson’s Bakery and the Gibson family and we have no indication or record of any complaints or history of racism or racial profiling by the Gibsons.

Therefore, we urge all of you to not rush to judgment and say or do things that can harm others before all the facts are established.

Respectfully,

Marvin Krislov, Oberlin College President
Meredith Raimondo, V.P. & Dean of Students
"


So the college itself admits the bakery wasnt racist.



They had several current and former black employees testify for the Gibsons.

Also in this article it points out that it was a black student who saw the college administrator standing outside with a bullhorn egging the students on.

Quoting:
"
Clarence “Trey” James, an African-American who had worked at the store since 2013, first denied that any racism existed in either the store’s treatment of its customers, or how he has been treated. “Never, not even a hint,” James said. “Zero reason to believe, zero evidence of that.”
"

Also

"
James said he was working at the store during the protests and could see Raimondo directly outside the front door, as he was working the cash register near the front windows and store entrance. Raimondo has claimed she was merely at the protest because it was her administrative duty to oversee the safety of the students and to keep the event “lawful.” She has repeatedly said she was not an “active participant.”

But James said he saw Raimondo “standing directly in front of the store with a megaphone, orchestrating some of the activities of the students. It appeared she was the voice of authority. She was telling the kids what to do, where to go. Where to get water, use the restrooms, where to make copies.”

The copy making was needed to get more flyers for the students to pass out. These flyers said Gibson’s had a long history of racial profiling, had assaulted the shoplifting students, encouraged a boycott of Gibson’s, and gave a list of other stores to shop with.

James said Raimondo was taking part in the distribution of these flyers. “She had a stack of them,” James testified, “and while she was talking on the bullhorn, she handed out half of them to a student who then went and passed them out.”
"
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Old 06-26-2019, 10:01 AM
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I, too, have a hard time understandning how Gibson's could be entitled to $11 million in compensatory damages. Shit, their whole store and everything in it isn't worth $11 million!

I'm also puzzled as to how the college could be put on the hook for such vast sums, for what seems to be a second-fiddle role in the boycott. Does this imply that the student protesters themselves, had they been sued, would have been subject to even greater penalties?
I am also rather surprised by this display of naivete. You are honestly confused about how a defamation award might total more than current stock and equipment on hand? Distributing pamphlets and canceling the bakery's vendor contract is a "second fiddle role"?

Last edited by CarnalK; 06-26-2019 at 10:01 AM.
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Old 06-26-2019, 10:23 AM
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First of all, I did not shit in your cornflakes this morning, so perhaps we can dial back the vitriol in the posts a little?

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Originally Posted by CarnalK View Post
Maybe the Obies you talked to are full of it? Is this "well founded accusation" based on actual practices of the business or some vibe people got off the owners? Because in that last Atlantic article linked above:
It would seem odd to me that people I've known for a long time and find to be trustworthy would suddenly fabricate accusations of racism just because of this one court case. I think your presumption that they are lying is not credible, even though I cannot come to my own firm conclusion of what is ground truth here.

The folks did not assert that the store had compelled arrests based on racism. The general assertion is that the owners of the store engaged in the whole "shopping while black" thing, were verbally offensive to minorities, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CarnalK View Post
You are honestly confused about how a defamation award might total more than current stock and equipment on hand? Distributing pamphlets and canceling the bakery's vendor contract is a "second fiddle role"?
Yes. Remind me again, are you an attorney? I welcome your explanation of compensatory damages being so high. I understand that compensatory damages relate to actual losses sustained, which is why they are often low compared to punitive damages. ETA: even one of the linked articles says that the store did $35,000 to 65,000 in business with the college. So do you know how the $11 million was calculated? Was it based on the contract being cancelled for the next 100 years, plus some other costs?

Last edited by Ravenman; 06-26-2019 at 10:25 AM.
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Old 06-26-2019, 10:40 AM
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Yes. Remind me again, are you an attorney? I welcome your explanation of compensatory damages being so high. I understand that compensatory damages relate to actual losses sustained, which is why they are often low compared to punitive damages. ETA: even one of the linked articles says that the store did $35,000 to 65,000 in business with the college. So do you know how the $11 million was calculated? Was it based on the contract being cancelled for the next 100 years, plus some other costs?
I put a link to those numbers above.

Thing is your talking about a business that dates back to 1885 and this incident basically, or at least tries to, wipe them out. The income of 3-5 generations, plus many hired staff, wiped out.
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Old 06-26-2019, 10:47 AM
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Is this the first lawsuit you've read about? I find it very hard to believe that you think current networth is some imaginary cap on what may be awarded. They have a cancelled contract and other future business impacted by this protest/shaming. They have the social stigma they'll have to wear over this. No, I'm not an attorney but I'm sure a quick google will bring you lawyerly explanations on how reparative and punitive damages are justified.

Last edited by CarnalK; 06-26-2019 at 10:49 AM.
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Old 06-26-2019, 11:05 AM
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I put a link to those numbers above.

Thing is your talking about a business that dates back to 1885 and this incident basically, or at least tries to, wipe them out. The income of 3-5 generations, plus many hired staff, wiped out.
Uhm... past business for many generations isn't wiped out. It isn't like Oberlin has been saving up all the money owed to them over the past century for one REALLY BIG PAYOFF!!! that now isn't coming.

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Is this the first lawsuit you've read about? I find it very hard to believe that you think current networth is some imaginary cap on what may be awarded. They have a cancelled contract and other future business impacted by this protest/shaming. They have the social stigma they'll have to wear over this. No, I'm not an attorney but I'm sure a quick google will bring you lawyerly explanations on how reparative and punitive damages are justified.
Sounds like you're mad at me for being wrong but you can't explain why I am.
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Old 06-26-2019, 11:14 AM
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Seems to me, you can't explain why you're right. Remember that McDonald's coffee lady? Did you think "WTf? That lady's lap isn't worth $3M. That's an 80 yr old lap!" when she won her lawsuit?

Last edited by CarnalK; 06-26-2019 at 11:15 AM.
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Old 06-26-2019, 11:24 AM
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Seems to me, you can't explain why you're right. Remember that McDonald's coffee lady? Did you think "WTf? That lady's lap isn't worth $3M. That's an 80 yr old lap!" when she won her lawsuit?
Those were punitive damages. Her compensatory damages were $160,000.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liebec...al_and_verdict

whomp whomp.
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Old 06-26-2019, 11:28 AM
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Good points.

According this article:

"
David Gibson – $17.5 million punitive damages

Allyn W. Gibson — $8.75 million punitive damages

Gibson Bros. Inc. (the Bakery) – $6,973,500 punitive damages
"

Also to address your statement that the bakery wasnt worth it the article says:

"“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.”
I have no views on whether the bakery did anything racist, but I'd like to point out certain phrases in this excerpt:

"tried to sacrifice...at the altar of political correctness"
"'social justice warfare' mob"
"all lives matter"

And that's in one small paragraph. Going back to a previous point raised in this thread, do you think that perhaps this might not be a particularly unbiased information source?
  #29  
Old 06-26-2019, 11:29 AM
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First of all, I did not shit in your cornflakes this morning, so perhaps we can dial back the vitriol in the posts a little?

It would seem odd to me that people I've known for a long time and find to be trustworthy would suddenly fabricate accusations of racism just because of this one court case. I think your presumption that they are lying is not credible, even though I cannot come to my own firm conclusion of what is ground truth here.

The folks did not assert that the store had compelled arrests based on racism. The general assertion is that the owners of the store engaged in the whole "shopping while black" thing, were verbally offensive to minorities, etc.


Yes. Remind me again, are you an attorney? I welcome your explanation of compensatory damages being so high. I understand that compensatory damages relate to actual losses sustained, which is why they are often low compared to punitive damages. ETA: even one of the linked articles says that the store did $35,000 to 65,000 in business with the college. So do you know how the $11 million was calculated? Was it based on the contract being cancelled for the next 100 years, plus some other costs?
I thought being ‘consequenced’ for so-called free speech was the in thing now. What’s the problem?
  #30  
Old 06-26-2019, 11:30 AM
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Seems to me, you can't explain why you're right. Remember that McDonald's coffee lady? Did you think "WTf? That lady's lap isn't worth $3M. That's an 80 yr old lap!" when she won her lawsuit?
Her compensatory damages were $300,000 (less some amount based on the fact that her actually spilling the coffee was her own fault.) That was based on the cost of skin grafts, days in hospital, perhaps lost wages of her family members while she convalesced. The punitive damages were the real kicker, but it was still under a million after the judge set aside the jury's recommended amount.
  #31  
Old 06-26-2019, 11:36 AM
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I thought being ‘consequenced’ for so-called free speech was the in thing now. What’s the problem?
If I sue you for your drive-by posts, how much do you think I could get?
  #32  
Old 06-26-2019, 11:44 AM
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Those were punitive damages. Her compensatory damages were $160,000.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liebec...al_and_verdict

whomp whomp.
I honestly don't get it. You surely realize the jury is not made up of accountants. Since you're older than 10, I assume you know these damages will likely be reduced on appeal. Yet you seem to honestly expect me to crunch the numbers to prove a $11M is proper compensatory damages? What has your accounting shown to be the perfect number?
  #33  
Old 06-26-2019, 11:46 AM
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If I sue you for your drive-by posts, how much do you think I could get?
Day's not over but I've got a high level of confidence this post is today's winner.
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  #34  
Old 06-26-2019, 11:47 AM
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Oberlin seems to suffer from the common desire to make "free speech" mean "speech that is free from consequence". That's hardly limited to the left.
The bitter irony here is that this literally is a free speech debate - the government is sanctioning speech. It's not "a team fired a member who said heinous things he agreed not to say in his contract" or "people boycott a restaurant for being bigoted", it's the government stepping in to legally punish someone for speech. But since it's a right-wing cause... Of course it's fine.

As said, this is where the mask slips. It's not about free speech. It's about making sure that there are no consequences for right-wing beliefs, no matter how noxious those beliefs are. The typical people who are constantly up in arms about campus free speech are utterly silent here (or, like you, are against free speech). Another, related case: PragerU complaining about being "silenced" on tech platforms.

It's not about free speech. It was never actually about free speech. Free speech is nothing but a cudgel to be used against the left. Thank you for demonstrating this beautifully.
  #35  
Old 06-26-2019, 12:37 PM
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As said, this is where the mask slips. It's not about free speech. It's about making sure that there are no consequences for right-wing beliefs, no matter how noxious those beliefs are.
What are the noxious right-wing beliefs you think should have consequences - that people shouldn't shoplift, or that people shouldn't make false accusations against each other?

Regards,
Shodan
  #36  
Old 06-26-2019, 01:30 PM
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Free speech does not mean libelous or defamatory speech. The university made specific false claims about the store in an effort to hurt their business and defame the proprietor's character. That is the definition of defamation.
  #37  
Old 06-26-2019, 01:47 PM
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BPC, defamation has never been protected speech. Insisting otherwise would be almost as laughable as pretending that Oberlin College's student newspaper is just a "trustworthy" "local paper directly on the ground."

If you wish to argue that free speech does or should protect defamation, perhaps you ought to lay out that argument. If you wish to argue that even though free speech doesn't protect defamation, what the college did wasn't or at least shouldn't be defamation... well, I'm not sure I'd disagree with you, but such an argument would also have virtually nothing to do with what you've had to say so far.

From the bakery's actual complaint -- start around paragraph 30 or so -- you can see that the college was sued because, the bakery alleges, it and its agents materially assisted in the dissemination of libelous statements (amongst other things -- the college was also found liable for the intentional inflection of emotional distress and, via its Dean of Students, for interference with business relations). We needn't assume the truth of the bakery's complaint, but I don't think it's unfair to expect you to accurately describe it.

I have mixed feelings on the whole thing -- for one thing, the $11 million in compensatory damages seems outlandishly high to me, and I'm not sure that what the college did ought to meet the legal standards for libel -- but assuming for the sake of argument that the college was directly involved in the publication of libel, it doesn't seem unreasonable to hold them accountable for their actions.

Ravenman, there is some breakdown here for the kinds of damages the bakery's side claimed. Here you can see that it wasn't $11 million in compensatory damages to the bakery, but in damages to the bakery plus a couple of family members. It doesn't break down how the figures were arrived at, which I understand is what you're after.
  #38  
Old 06-26-2019, 02:22 PM
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Folks, this is one jury verdict. There's already an appeal in the works. It's not a SCOTUS decision. Here are two relevant SCOTUS decisions:

Teachers have the right to express opinions in public: Pickering v. Board of Education (1968).

Pickering, a teacher, wrote a letter to the editor of the local newspaper, a form of public protest. SCOTUS ruled that Pickering's letter was constitutional free speech. From Oyez:
Quote:
The Supreme Court noted that similar speech is not protected if it contains false statements knowingly or recklessly made.
Bearing on the Oberlin case: The professors and other employees have the right to voice opinions publically. Even if the allegations of racism (past or present) were false, the Oberlin faculty and other employees would have to have known the statements were false or made them recklessly, i.e., without due consideration.

Did the college, itself--that is, the administration under the auspices of the Board of Trustees--sponsor the protests? I can't find evidence of that, but if it did, does the (private) college count as an individual, as SCOTUS said corporations do?

Boycotts are legal: NAACP v. Claiborne Hardware Co. (1982)

From Oyez:
Quote:
In 1966, at a local meeting of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) attended by several hundred people in Claiborne County, Mississippi, the group launched a boycott of white merchants. The purpose of the boycott was to promote equality and racial justice...In 1969, white merchants sued the NAACP for damages as a result of the injuries to their businesses that the boycott caused. These damages included loss of earnings over a seven-year period. The Chancery Court imposed damages liability and the Mississippi Supreme Court upheld the imposition of tort liability as well as concluding the entire boycott was unlawful since the NAACP agreed to use force, violence, and “threats” to carryout the boycott.
SCOTUS decision : Unanimous*
Quote:
that the nonviolent elements of the protesters’ activities are entitled to the protection of the First Amendment. In this case, the members of the NAACP exercised their First Amendment right of speech, assembly, and petition in a nonviolent way to bring about social change. The NAACP is not liable in damages for the consequences of their nonviolent activity and the damages cannot be recovered because the violence or threats of violence were not a proximate cause of the business losses.
Bearing on the Oberlin case: Businesses cannot recover damages from boycotters.

And some context: in 1835, two years after its founding, Oberlin, a private college founded by Presbyterians, became the first US college to admit Blacks. Two years later, it admitted women. It fought for abolition. By 1900, a third of all blacks with college degrees graduated from Oberlin. Once again, history is relevant to understanding.

And this is a long way from over.


*Justice Thurgood Marshall didn't take part in consideration or decision.
  #39  
Old 06-26-2019, 02:56 PM
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I honestly don't get it. You surely realize the jury is not made up of accountants. Since you're older than 10, I assume you know these damages will likely be reduced on appeal. Yet you seem to honestly expect me to crunch the numbers to prove a $11M is proper compensatory damages? What has your accounting shown to be the perfect number?
I questioned how a jury could find $11 million in compensatory damages, and you all but called me stupid. I asked you to explain it to me, and you said you can't. Then you raised a case with high punitive damages, and I pointed out that that is a different matter. Now you're asking me to come up with a precise calculation of what I think is justified?

I think I've wandered into a thread about cantankerous performance art....

And gr8rguy, thank you for adding some substance to this trainwreck thread to try to address my question. Your civility and constructiveness is a breath of fresh air.

Last edited by Ravenman; 06-26-2019 at 02:57 PM.
  #40  
Old 06-26-2019, 03:20 PM
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$11M seems high to me too, in terms of compensatory damages, and in all likelihood it is since it's the figure from the plaintiff's accountant. From reading the article linked by gr8rguy, it seems there are other tangential business ventures that are being claimed to be impacted as well, both current and future so that is contributing to the high figure.
  #41  
Old 06-26-2019, 04:34 PM
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I think the college brought it on themselves. Remember the bakery owners tried to reach a settlement with the college and they refused to budge. Plus they out and out demanded that the bakery drop charges on the students and to contact them, not the police, if any student in the future shoplifted. Can they get more arrogant?

I mean the college could have nipped the whole thing in the bud by putting out a statement telling students they had no evidence of racism from the bakery (which they did later on after they found themselves losing). Furthermore remind students that if they dont want to get arrested, dont shoplift and to respect the laws (again which they later did when they found out they were losing).

Finally do NOT support the student protests and remind them and the bakery that this is a student led thing only and does NOT reflect on nor endoresed by the college. Ex. dont give them credit for protesting. Dont send over food. Dont allow them to use campus copy machines for free. Dont have your staff members egging them on with a bullhorn.

I fully understand that college aged students can often fly off the handle and go crazy on things when it comes to social justice issues but its sometimes up to the adults in the room to step in and be a voice of reason.
  #42  
Old 06-26-2019, 04:34 PM
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$11M seems high to me too, in terms of compensatory damages, and in all likelihood it is since it's the figure from the plaintiff's accountant. From reading the article linked by gr8rguy, it seems there are other tangential business ventures that are being claimed to be impacted as well, both current and future so that is contributing to the high figure.
If it's punitive damages, those often are far higher than mere compensatory damages.
  #43  
Old 06-26-2019, 04:59 PM
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I think the college brought it on themselves. Remember the bakery owners tried to reach a settlement with the college and they refused to budge. Plus they out and out demanded that the bakery drop charges on the students and to contact them, not the police, if any student in the future shoplifted. Can they get more arrogant?

I mean the college could have nipped the whole thing in the bud by putting out a statement telling students they had no evidence of racism from the bakery (which they did later on after they found themselves losing). Furthermore remind students that if they dont want to get arrested, dont shoplift and to respect the laws (again which they later did when they found out they were losing).

Finally do NOT support the student protests and remind them and the bakery that this is a student led thing only and does NOT reflect on nor endoresed by the college. Ex. dont give them credit for protesting. Dont send over food. Dont allow them to use campus copy machines for free. Dont have your staff members egging them on with a bullhorn.

I fully understand that college aged students can often fly off the handle and go crazy on things when it comes to social justice issues but its sometimes up to the adults in the room to step in and be a voice of reason.
These suggestions are all as reasonable as proposing that Brigham Young University give out free condoms in dorms.
  #44  
Old 06-26-2019, 05:20 PM
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UrbanRedneck:

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Well no, the college itself has admitted that there was NO history of racism from the bakery. The college itself admits this in a letter shown in this article sent out from the college:
Not quite. The article says that the Gibsons' lawyer said that that's the letter the college should have written. At no time (unless you can show me otherwise) did the college actually write such a letter, admitting to the Gibsons' lack of racism.
  #45  
Old 06-26-2019, 05:24 PM
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If it's punitive damages, those often are far higher than mere compensatory damages.
That's the compensatory damages. The punitive damages were three times higher, which is likely to be reduced because apparently relevant Ohio law generally limits punitive damages to twice the compensatory damages. See here.

Oberlin has filed a motion to reduce total damages to $14 million; the bakery and the Gibsons have come back with a brief arguing that the correct total is about $25 million. So the total damages awarded, I would guess as a non-lawyer, would come in somewhere between 1/3 and 1/2 of the original $44 million. Ravenman, the bakery's brief seems to have a somewhat more complete accounting of the damages, but parts of it are redacted. I didn't read through it carefully.

This information, I should note, has come from the coverage at legalinsurrection. I don't mean to imply that their coverage is unbiased, but I presume that the documents available on scribd are not fabricated.

----
Also, it's 8, then r. I really need to correct my youthful indiscretion and find a less embarrassing name!
  #46  
Old 06-26-2019, 05:27 PM
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Ok, thanks for your comments. I would like to answer you response "I'm not convinced that the college actively supported the students in any way that moral people would hold against them."

I looked around again and found THIS article by The Atlantic.

Here are some quotes:


"
_ Oberlin employees were among those who distributed a boycott flyer, and they allowed it to be copied for free on school machines. It declared without evidence that the bakery was a “racist establishment with a long account of racial profiling and discrimination” and called its behavior toward the three students who broke the law there “heinous.”

_ Reed, Raimondo, and some Oberlin professors “raised their fists in support of the demonstration,” with some of them “shouting the defamatory statements on a bullhorn, thereby assuring that a large audience would hear their defamatory statements.”

_ Credit was given to students who attended the protest in lieu of classes, and administrators bought them food to support them."

Does that imply the college supported the protesters?
This is certainly an improvement over the shoddy case you made in your OP.

But if I allow someone to make copies on my employer's photocopier, if I hand those photocopies out, if I go to a protest and defame someone, hell if my boss goes to a protest and defames someone, I hardly expect my employer to be on the hook for any of that. The credit thing? Maybe. But simply going to the protest isn't defamatory. And sending food to a defamer hardly seems like anything damaging.
  #47  
Old 06-27-2019, 08:16 AM
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But if I allow someone to make copies on my employer's photocopier, if I hand those photocopies out, if I go to a protest and defame someone, hell if my boss goes to a protest and defames someone, I hardly expect my employer to be on the hook for any of that. The credit thing? Maybe. But simply going to the protest isn't defamatory. And sending food to a defamer hardly seems like anything damaging.
Every time I log into my work PC, I have to click OK on a disclaimer that I won't use the PC to defame or harass anyone. And if my boss said "If you want to harass someone we'll pay you for it at your regular rates and also spring for lunch" I doubt it would reduce their liability.

Regards,
Shodan
  #48  
Old 06-27-2019, 08:30 AM
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UrbanRedneck:



Not quite. The article says that the Gibsons' lawyer said that that's the letter the college should have written. At no time (unless you can show me otherwise) did the college actually write such a letter, admitting to the Gibsons' lack of racism.
Ok, I reread it and your right. My mix up.

But that goes back to my point that if the administration had wanted to they could have curtailed if not stopped this from ever getting out of control and it would have been just a day or 2 with a few kids handing out flyers and protesting and would not have reflected on the college. I'm sure in its near 100 years of business the bakery has had to deal with students and other customers making demands and accusations and it would have been treated the same.
  #49  
Old 06-27-2019, 10:31 AM
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...This information, I should note, has come from the coverage at legalinsurrection. I don't mean to imply that their coverage is unbiased, but I presume that the documents available on scribd are not fabricated....
The Legal Insurrection site contains a lot of other information, as does the Oberlin Chronicle-Telegram. There are emails by faculty discussing how to weaponize the student body and retaliate against an Oberlin professor who wasn't onboard with the railroading.

One item that makes me wonder is a student who was at the shop when the incident happened. She did not observe the fake ID nor, apparently, the wine bottles, what she saw was the cashier chase and tackle the shoplifter for no reason she could see. To her, it is believable that a bakery worker/ employee/ owner would chase and assault a young black male for no reason at all. There is OPD bodycam video showing her talking to police and their mention of why later on still sailed right over her head.
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Old 06-27-2019, 10:49 AM
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This information, I should note, has come from the coverage at legalinsurrection. I don't mean to imply that their coverage is unbiased, but I presume that the documents available on scribd are not fabricated.
As I noted above, the fact that the article writer went out of the way to shoehorn in a well-known racist dogwhistle does not inspire confidence.

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Also, it's 8, then r. I really need to correct my youthful indiscretion and find a less embarrassing name!
I started out as "jr8". Name change can happen - just PM a mod once you've given it some "mature consideration".
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