Gibson’s Bakery Awarded $6.5 Million in Attorney’s Fees in Oberlin College Defamation Case

In this Nov. 22, 2017 photo, pedestrians pass the storefront of Gibson's Food Mart & Bakery in Oberlin, Ohio. A long relationship between one of Americas most liberal colleges and 132-year-old family-owned Gibson's is in tatters amid student allegations of racial profiling. The bakery filed a lawsuit last month accusing …
AP Photo/Dake Kang

Gibson’s Bakery has been awarded an additional $6.5 million in attorney’s fees and expenses on top of the $25 million judgement that was laid down by an Ohio jury again Oberlin College, which it found had defamed the family-owned business.

According to a report by Legal Insurrection, a Ohio court ordered Oberlin College to pay more than $6.5 million in legal fees and expenses for the recent case that resulted in a massive $25 million judgement in favor of local Gibson’s Bakery.

Gibson’s Bakery was awarded a $25 million verdict for Oberlin College’s role in defaming the local establishment. Students and administrators co-orchestrated protests against the bakery after two black Oberlin students were arrested during a shoplifting incident. As a part of their guilty plea, the two students admitted that their altercation at the shop was not racially charged. Despite this, Oberlin students and administrators had no problem smearing the bakery as “racist.”

The court’s order states that Oberlin College will be responsible for $6,565,531 in legal fees and expenses. The order includes a complex calculation which takes into consideration the 14,417 billable hours that Gibson’s Bakery’s attorneys spent on the case.

In addition to attorneys’ fees, Plaintiffs’ also seek $404,139.22 in litigation expenses. Defendants and their expert believe Plaintiffs’ proposed expenses are excessive and that several categories are not properly includable as expenses. Defendants believe the proper amount of litigation expenses total $241,247.84. This Court agrees that the expenses should be limited, albeit not to the extent requested by Defendants….

Therefore, in addition to attorneys’ fees of $6,271,395.00, Plaintiffs are hereby awarded the above litigation expenses, which total $294,136.79. In addition court costs are assessed to the Defendants….

The attorneys for Gibson’s Bakery will also take a 40 percent contingency fee, meaning that they will take $10 million out of the $25 million verdict. William A. Jacobson, professor of law at Cornell University and author of the Legal Insurrection report, claims that the Gibson family is likely to collect the $6.5 million attorney’s fee.

“My assumption is that the attorney’s fees awarded by the court are not subject to the contingent fee. So if and when the judgment is collected, and putting aside interest on the judgment, the lawyers get $10 million out of the $25 million, and the Gibson’s get the roughly $6.3 million attorney fee award,” Jacobson wrote. “So the Gibson’s walk away with $15 million on the judgment and plus the attorney’s fees, totaling between $21-22 million.”

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