The bakery falsely accused of racism won a major court victory, sending bad news to ‘woke’ colleges with bad practices. Gibson’s Bakery, an Ohio family-owned business with a long history of serving the Oberlin community, has won a major victory in its feud with Oberlin College. According to the case, Oberlin College encouraged and supported false accusations made by students and faculty members against the bakery in 2016.
Following Oberlin’s sustained campaign against the bakery, a jury awarded the store $36 million in damages. The state Supreme Court rejected Oberlin’s appeal. That means the school must eventually pay the bakery they almost forced to close. “Upon consideration of the jurisdictional memoranda filed in this case, the court declines to accept the jurisdiction of the appeal or cross-appeal,” Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor wrote.
As the Daily Wire reported, a state appeals court upheld a multimillion-dollar verdict in April, but the college appealed to the state supreme court. The appeal of Oberlin was denied by the State Supreme Court in a 4-3 decision, as Legal Insurrection previously reported. “On behalf of the Gibson family and the trial team, truth still matters, David can still overcome Goliath,” the Gibsons and their attorneys declared in a statement submitted to the Chronicle-Telegram.
In a statement issued through a spokesperson, the college declared: “Oberlin is disappointed that the Ohio Supreme Court has chosen not to hear our appeal of the Gibson’s Bakery judgment against the college. The issues raised by this case have been challenging, not only for the parties involved but for the entire Oberlin community. We remain committed to strengthening the partnership between the College, the City of Oberlin and its residents, and the downtown business community. We will continue in that important work while remaining focused on our core educational mission.”
The incident started in November 2016 when several non-white Oberlin students made an attempt to steal alcohol from Gibson’s Bakery. A member of the Gibson family working at the bakery that day kicked the students out of the store. As a result, police were called. The students were arrested, pleaded guilty and acknowledged that the race factor was not part of the incident. However, that didn’t stop them from rallying to protest outside the store in the following days. They labeled the store as racist alleging that it had a long history of racial discrimination against students of color. In the wake of the protests, the relationship of more than 100 years between the bakery and the college was severed and the bakery sued the college.
The Gibson family claimed their bakery which has operated in Ohio since 1885 was having trouble surviving pending Oberlin’s damages due to the school’s continued discrimination against the bakery. A $44 million judgment was awarded in 2019 by a jury that decided the college had defamed the Gibsons and their business. According to Ohio law, damages in civil cases are limited to $25 million, so Judge John Miraldi reduced the amount to $25 million. The bakery also received more than $6.5 million in attorney’s fees. In addition, millions of dollars in interest were also collected.