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Oberlin Pays Out $36.6M in Long-Running Legal Case

September 9, 2022

Oberlin College will pay out $36.6 million to Gibson’s Bakery, closing a chapter in a legal battle that began in 2017 when the local business accused the university of damaging its reputation.

The legal case stemmed from a shoplifting incident in 2016 that led to student protests and accusations of racism, with administrators joining in and the college cutting business ties with the bakery. Gibson’s sued and won $44 million for libel and other charges, though the court later reduced the amount. Last month the Ohio Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal from Oberlin, bringing an end to the long-running and locally divisive legal battle.

Oberlin announced in a press release Thursday that it had initiated payment to the plaintiffs.

“We are disappointed by the Court’s decision. However, this does not diminish our respect for the law and the integrity of our legal system,” Oberlin officials said in a news release. “This matter has been painful for everyone. We hope that the end of the litigation will begin the healing of our entire community.”

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