Cooper: Oberlin case should keep colleges on their toes

Thursday, August 1, 2019
 | 
Bob Kellogg (OneNewsNow.com)

lawsuit gavel with moneyAfter losing a defamation case filed by a nearby business, an Ohio college has been slapped with additional millions in attorney's fees.

In June, Gibson's Bakery was awarded $44 million in its libel case against Oberlin College – plus the school was ordered to pay $9.5 million in attorney's fees. Two weeks later, however, a judge reduced the total fine to $25 million. But a judge has now ordered the school to pay an additional $6.5 million in attorney's fees.

Horace Cooper of the Project 21 Black Leadership Network says the combination of those two decisions "constitutes a fairly substantial statement that universities just aren't going to be allowed to partake in activities that result in either individuals or businesses having to be shut down."

The original lawsuit was filed after a shoplifting incident at the bakery – just blocks from the campus – turned violent; and groups, including Black Lives Matter and social justice activists on the liberal college's staff and in its student body, subsequently launched a smear campaign on the bakery. The campaign adversely affected the bakery's business, which relied heavily on the school and its students.

Cooper

Oberlin has admitted no wrongdoing in the case and is vowing to fight on, despite the enormous legal costs it has incurred. Cooper hopes all of this sends a message to other schools.

"It is my hope that the recognition that these losses are going to start occurring with more frequency … is going to lead universities to take more responsibility in the unlawful behavior that is undertaken by their employees," he tells OneNewsNow.

Campus Reform reports the fees will be distributed among three law firms involved in the case.

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