Oberlin College faces more than $4 million in interest after refusing to pay a $31.6 million fine an Ohio court imposed on Gibson’s Bakery for defaming the company with false claims of racism.
The Chronicle reports that Oberlin has asked the Ohio Supreme Court for an order ending payment of the $36 million awarded to the family bakery, while the liberal arts school is appealing two rulings by lower justice.
Oberlin was ordered to pay the bakery and its owners, the Gibson family, millions in damages after a jury found the college and one of its former vice presidents, Meredith Raimondo, defamed the family and business and intentionally inflicted emotional distress on them.
The jury also found that the school intentionally interfered with the bakery’s business, according to The Chronicle.
The bakery’s attorneys asked Lorain County Common Pleas Judge John Miraldi to order the college to pay the judgment in a May 27 court filing, saying he had not filed a judgment. petition to the 9th District Court of Appeals to stop the process.
The jury initially awarded the bakery and its owners $44 million, but Miraldi reduced the amount after reviewing applicable state law, according to The Chronicle.
The outlet reports that the monetary reward now totals more than $36 million, including the $31.6 million in damages the bakery won in July 2019, plus interest, or about $4,300 a day for the 1,064 days since the decision.
To ensure that the judgment can be paid if its appeals fail, Oberlin College obtained an appeal bond through Zurich American Insurance Co. and the terms of the bond “require the exhaustion of all appeals before it becomes recoverable,” the Ohio Supreme Court filing said. .
Oberlin students and staff have called the 137-year-old family business racist after the Gibsons called police about three black shoplifters who stole wine and attacked a staff member in 2016. The three were later convicted, according to the Daily Mail.
Lee Plakas, the Gibsons’ lawyer, told the Mail in April that the college’s false accusations of racism continue to hurt the family today.
“Business has suffered and the family is doing everything they can to continue the tradition of the bakery,” he said, noting that the bakery has been forced to lay off employees from nearly a dozen of employees to three or four.
Plakas said the Gibsons have been forced to scale back operations because business has gotten so slow and “they’re just trying to hold on until the court system forces the college to pay for the damages that they’ve had.” they caused”.