Oberlin College Must Post $36 Million Bond After Losing Defamation Lawsuit

Moves to Forestall Property Seizures As Freshman Class Arrives

Editor’s Note: Small Ohio-based Oberlin College is being hit with a substantial monetary judgement that its attorneys argue may put it out of business. The lawsuit was the response to a smear campaign Oberlin administrators waged against a locally-owned bakery over a shoplifting incident where three black Oberlin students attacked the store’s shopkeeper. The students  pled guilty to the assault and subsequently acknowledged that race played no role in the event.   

MHB readers may recall how in 2016 Oberlin College suspended and eventually terminated Assistant Professor Joy Karega after a US-Israeli organization initiated its own smear campaign targeting Karega for her social media commentary and memes critical of Israel’s foreign policy and  links to ISIS.  


Featured Image: Judge John Miraldi reads punitive damages verdict][Photo credit Bob Perkoski for Legal Insurrection Foundation

Oberlin College ordered to post $36 million bond to delay Gibson’s Bakery collection of Judgment

William A. Jacobson
Legal Insurrection
(July 24, 2019)

The compensatory and punitive damages of $25 million (after reduction for tort reform caps), plus the over $6.5 million in attorney’s fees and costs, put Oberlin College almost $32 million in debt to Gibson’s Bakery and its owners.

Absent some judicial action, the next step would have been for the Gibsons to execute on the judgment, meaning start collecting the money through post-judgment remedies, such as seizing bank accounts and physical property.

Oberlin College, which intends to appeal once post-trial motions are over, obviously doesn’t want its bank accounts, computer equipment, and er, Dean of Students’ office furniture, seized just as the freshman class was arriving. So Oberlin College filed a motion for a stay of execution of the judgment until such time as it can appeal and obtain an appeal bond.

We covered the parties’ arguments for and against in our prior post, Gibson’s Bakery: “there is serious concern about [Oberlin College’s] ability to pay this sizeable judgment three years from now”. Gibson’s Bakery devoted much of its opposition to arguing for a bond on the basis that Oberlin College was in poor financial shape:

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