Oberlin College has requested a new trial in the lawsuit filed by Gibson’s Bakery, after a jury awarded the bakery combined damages of $44 million.
The lawsuit, which named the college and Meredith Raimondo, vice president and dean of students, as defendants, stemmed from a Nov. 9, 2016, shoplifting incident and fight at the Oberlin bakery that involved three African-American Oberlin College students and Allyn D. Gibson, a white store clerk. The incident sparked protests, which included disseminating flyers.
The initial award named June 7 was reduced by Judge John R. Miraldi a few weeks after the verdict.
In addition, the college has made a motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict, or requesting the judge overrule the jury’s verdict.
The motions were filed by Ronald D. Holman II, a lawyer at Taft in Cleveland, on Aug. 14 in Lorain County Municipal Court of Common Pleas. They are accompanied by more than 542 pages of documentation.
The motions are not actual appeals, which would be filed in a court of appeals. They, instead, asked Miraldi, who initially heard the case, to take another look at the evidence and his evidentiary rulings.
Gibson’s lawyer, Lee Plakas of Tzangas, Plakas, Mannos LTD in Canton, has countered with responses in opposition to the motions with 127 pages of documentation.
Miraldi, in a written ruling, said David Gibson should receive $14 million in compensatory and punitive damages, his father and family patriarch Allyn Gibson $6.5 million, and their Oberlin business, Gibson’s Bakery, $4.5 million, The Associated Press reported in June.
Oberlin College President Carmen Twillie Ambar said in a conference call the bakery owners sought $15 million to $20 million after initially seeking $30 million. The college made a $5 million offer the day of closing statements.