Legal Insurrection has done an incredible job of covering the Black Lives Matter/Oberlin College attack on a white owned-bakery in Oberlin’s college town, but they seemed to have missed one point.
Remember that this started when, as Michelle Malkin wrote in 2016:
On Nov. 9 according to the city police report I obtained, shop employee Allyn Gibson caught a 19-year-old Oberlin College student allegedly stealing two bottles of wine and hiding them under his shirt. As officers approached the area, Oberlin Police Sgt. (Victor) Ortiz, and Officer (Raymond) Feuerstein both stated they observed Gibson lying on his back with several individuals kneeling over him punching and kicking him with several other individuals in the immediate area. Officers attempted to gain control of the situation and were met several times with resistance from several different individuals." [Incident Report, PDF]
Because the individuals were black (see one mugshot, right) Gibson’s Bakery was considered racist, and attacked both by judgement-proof mobs of students, and by Oberlin College itself. This led to an $11 million dollar verdict against Oberlin, which has an $885 million endowment.
The very idea that a jury could do this seems to have maddened the university authorities, as attorney William Jacobson pointed out at Legal Insurrection, saying "Publicly accusing jurors of disregarding “the clear evidence our team presented” when the trial is not over is another baffling move by Oberlin College."
The point is that after the verdict of $11 million, but before the hearing on whether there should be triple damages caused by “malice”, Oberlin’s corporate counsel sent out a mass email attacking the jury. This astoundingly unprofessional conduct, likely to influence the jury against college to the tune of an extra $33 million, baffled Jacobson, but it didn’t baffle me for a moment.
Procedurally, the email is baffling because the trial is not over. The jury will hear more evidence and render a verdict on punitive damages that could add another $22 million to the $11 million compensatory. The objective of any communications at this sensitive stage must be to first do no harm. That’s how Scott Wargo, Oberlin’s spokesman, handled it when contacted by me and other media after the verdict, indicating the college had no comment on the jury verdict. Wargo’s statement was the professional response one would expect in this circumstance, so why are others at the college not heeding that basic corporate communications strategy?
Substantively, the email is infuriating to anyone who has followed the case. Oberlin College and Raimondo were not “held liable for the independent actions of their students.” Rather, the defendants were held liable for their own conduct in aiding and abetting the publication of libelous documents, interference with business, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Let me repeat, it was the college’s and Raimondo’s own conduct that was at issue before the jury. That the General Counsel of Oberlin College doesn’t understand that — even if she disagrees with the jury conclusion — tells me something went very wrong with the way this case was handled internally at Oberlin College.[Oberlin College mass email criticizing Jurors could influence Punitive Damages Hearing in Gibson’s Bakery case, June 9, 2019]
I could see that the email was signed by a woman called Donica Thomas Varner, Vice President, General Counsel & Secretary.
Ms. Varner [Email her] is a black lady lawyer, who has worked previously in Detroit law firms, and as a lawyer for the University of Michigan. There's no reason to be surprised that a black lady lawyer, working at a left-wing college is (a) incompetent or (b) emotional. This is one of the costs of affirmative action.
In this case, the cost is $22 million dollars. See Oberlin College hit with maximum PUNITIVE DAMAGES (capped at $22 million by law) in Gibson’s Bakery case, by William A. Jacobson, LegalInsurrection, June 13, 2019.
Legal Insurrection doesn't quite get this, because they're Respectably Right, and have presumably trained themselves not to think in terms like "black lady lawyer", the first clue being that white lawyers aren't named "Donica".
And from 2016:White-Owned Business A New Victim In The War On Small-Biz Bakeries, by Michelle Malkin, December 13, 2016.