Oberlin College to appeal Gibson's verdict
[CHRONICLET] Attorneys for Oberlin College filed notice in Lorain County Common Pleas Court on Tuesday that they are appealing the verdict handed down by a Lorain County jury earlier this year in a defamation case brought by Gibson's Bakery and the Gibson family.
Oberlin College's board of trustees voted to appeal the multimillion jury verdict, which currently stands at $31.5 million in favor of the Gibsons. The appeal will be heard by the Ninth District Court of Appeals in Akron.
In an official statement, the college cited its obligation to protect the First Amendment right to free speech and what it said were serious errors made by the jury and at trial. Judge John Miraldi, who presided over the six-week trial, previously ruled against Oberlin College's motions for summary judgment and a new trial.
The college said that to pay the Gibsons damages for libel, intentional infliction of emotional distress and interference with business relationships would damage free speech on college campuses.
"Left standing, the verdict could also set a troubling precedent for those institutions, like Oberlin, that are committed to respecting free speech," the statement from the college read.
Chris Canavan, chairman of the Oberlin College board of trustees, was quoted in the release saying the decision to appeal is "grounded in the board’s fiduciary responsibility to the College’s long-term financial health."
"We also have a mission to support free inquiry, allow faculty and students to ask difficult questions and to reach and express their own conclusions," he said. "The judgment in this case effectively punishes us for doing just that."
Posted by: Fred 2019-10-10