Play stupid games… win stupid prizes… or lose a lot of money.
The family at the center of a defamation lawsuit against Oberlin College hugged in celebration on Thursday when a jury granted them $33 million in punitive damages on top of the $11 million compensatory award they’re already owed by the liberal arts school.
The newly decided punitive damages — money awarded to plaintiffs in a civil lawsuit to punish defendants and deter future bad conduct — were broken down by the jury into $17.5 million for David Gibson, $8.75 million for family patriarch Allyn Gibson, and $6.97 million for their company, Gibson Bros, Inc.
Oberlin’s insure might reject covering this suit… Needless to say, my schadenboner is quite impressive!
A jury has awarded Gibson’s Bakery and its owners $11 million in compensatory damages against Oberlin College, for libel, intentional interference with business, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The punitive damage hearing next week could add another $22 million, bringing the total to $33 million.
There will be post-trial motions to set aside the jury verdict and/or reduce the dollar amounts, and then appeals. So while the Gibson family won a major victory, it is not over.
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.