Oberlin hit with maximum punitive damages in slander case


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The jury today hit Oberlin College with the maximum punitive damages allowed, $33 million (to be reduced to $22 million by law) for its slanderous attacks on a local bakery.

I suspect that the college can afford this hit, despite its pleading poverty to the jury during final deliberations. It also made clear in those deliberations its continuing lack of remorse for its slanderous behavior.

The second fact should inform every parent and high school nationwide: Oberlin is not a decent place to get a college education. If everyone makes that decision and enrollments dry up, the first fact above will become irrelevant, as the school will quite properly no longer exist.

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3 comments

  • Edward

    Oberlin has an $800 million endowment. Although it probably cannot use any of it for this verdict, they may be able to use it to attract more students by providing better scholarships.

    The irony of Oberlin going out of business is that the student population is about a quarter of the population of the town of Oberlin. If the college goes away, the family’s bakery — and many other local businesses — may follow. This is the danger of a town relying heavily on a single business.

  • F16 Guy

    Apparently their insurance most likely will NOT pay for this:

    “An obvious question, and one a lot of people have been asking, is whether the college has liability insurance to cover the verdict.

    Based on court filings obtained by Legal Insurrection Foundation, it appears that the insurer, Lexington Insurance Company, is likely to disclaim coverage for the intentional torts which gave rise to the verdict.
    Accordingly, based on Lexington’s court filing, it is likely that Oberlin College, should its post-trial motions and appeals fail, will have to pay out of pocket and then sue Lexington.”

  • wayne

    Edward–
    Thanks for that tidbit on the endowment.
    (https://www.oberlin.edu/investment/assets)

    F16 Guy-
    thanks for that tidbit, as well!

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