The jury just rendered its verdict on punitive damages in the Gibson’s Bakery v. Oberlin College case.
Daniel McGraw, our reporter in the courtroom, reports that in addition to the $11.2 million compensatory damages awarded last Friday, the jury awarded a total of $33 million in punitive damages, which will probably be reduced by the court to $22 million because of the state law cap at twice compensatory (it’s not an absolute cap, but probably will apply here). That brings the total damages to $33 million. We will have the breakdown soon. The jury also awarded attorney’s fees, to be determined by the judge.
The breakdown was:
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
MY STATEMENT about the verdict:
“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.”
MORE TO FOLLOW
David Gibson reacted:
I appreciate from the jury that they took care of this Goliath. That took a lot of guts on their part. They made it so that we have a chance and an opportunity to keep the lights on. [overcome with emotion] Gives us an opportunity to keep the lights on for another generation.”
The Gibson family was visibly shocked by the amount, as most in the courtroom were thinking the jury’s final punitive damages verdict in the case might top out at maybe $10 million. The fact that it was triple that amount means in many ways that perhaps the jury understood that the whole country was watching.
“We never wanted any of this to go to court and have to spend all this time in litigation,” David Gibson said exclusively to the Legal Insurrection. David Gibson is the lead plaintiff in the case and is the principal owner of the business.
“People have no idea on how much stress this has had on our family and business for almost three years. But from the beginning, we just didn’t understand why they were punishing us for something we had nothing to do with.”
“We appreciate that the jury understood what we had gone through, and I think they were saying to the entire country that we can’t allow this to happen to hard-working, small business people whose lives are defined by their business, their family, and their community,” he said.” What the college was doing was trying to take away all those things from us, and we fought hard against that.”