Friday, June 14, 2019

Link and commentary: The Dangerous Defamation Judgment Against Oberlin College

The Dangerous Defamation Judgment Against Oberlin College: BY JOHN K. WILSON

An interesting essay on why the ridiculous verdict in Gibson v. Oberlin College is, for lack of a better description, "Fucked Up and Bullshit."  I agree with the writer that what ever bad conduct was directed at the plaintiffs, it definitely was not standard defamation.  I was actually thinking yesterday, is it really defamation to be called a racist?  I mean really?  Save when it is a accusation tied to misconduct, unlawful, prohibited discrimination (and properly filed pleadings are privileged if I recall correctly?)  I know a lot of people fear being called racist as much as reasonable people fear getting a chronic disease.  Others just don't give a fuck, or just throw the accusation right back at who ever called them that.  But it is usually just somebody's opinion, I think.

But I really think the judge committed reversible error in not kicking the whole case out on motion for summary judgment.  And like I said in my last post, the theory of harm and damages was just bananas.

Now I finally got the answer to my question, why was there no defense of truth, or evidence at trial about whether or not Gibson's has a reputation at least among not white folk, of being racist?  Turns out I learned, over on the Althouse blog earlier today, that the judge specifically prevented the defense from introducing any evidence of that.  Basically the judge took away what is one of the standard defenses to defamation; truth.  So we have reversible error at the trial as well.  I don't think this judge's reputation will survive unscathed here.  And the idiotic reason he excluded the defense as a whole and testimony regarding that matter was because the kids in the original incident that caused this shit show said they were not victims of racism . . . when they plead out on much lesser charges, thereby avoiding felony convictions.   Never mind that aspect, but since when is a statement made in relation to a plea bargain, that has no bearing on the criminal charge, a finding of fact binding other cases?  Ohio law might be weird, but not that weird, I am guessing.

For either of these reasons, the appellate court can vacate this ruling, even if they really are doing it as a public policy, institutional level, can't let this shit stand, sort of reason, actually.

And the part that the appellate court can not dare talk about in a court's opinion, is the sick, twisted politics at work here.  Just as much as on the conservative blog where I first read about this case, the peanut gallery over at Althouse's blog were hailing this as a critical win in their idiotic Culture War.  Because them SJWs and liberal eggheads on those out of touch college campuses are way out of touch with "normal" folk.  So the rabid conservatives say.  Shit.  Even one yokel posted some psychotic quote about how all of them want to kill all of us.  Pretty sick, seriously disturbing shit.

Parting shot (pun not intended.)  If a well traveled blog like Althouse was held to the same standard that the judge and jury held Oberlin College to, the owner would be open to all sorts of liability based on the putrid shit some of the visitors post.  Good thing that is not the case and the law.  Yet.

(Oh.  A reminder.  Buried in the earliest part of this blog, is my disclaimer.  Every thing I post here is just my damn opinion.  Got to remember to restate that every so often.  Bitches be suing for defamation for all sorts of crazy-assed reasons!)

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Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Sorry You Anti SJW Assholes. The Verdict in Gibson v. Oberlin College is Fragile, if not D.O.A.

Gibson v. Oberlin Verdict can Not Be Allowed to Stand.

I have been fascinated with this story, since I first learned about it.  In sum, a local bakery/store near Oberlin College was boycotted and picketed by students, after some students got caught shoplifting.  Part of the complaint about the business was that they were racists, and had a history of racial profiling.  That kinda shit.  Now, for awhile, the school stopped doing business with the bakery.  But then they started doing business with them again.  Then the bakery sued the school.  And that is one of the most important parts of the story that often gets left out.  The real reason Gibson's no longer has any of the college's business, is because they sued the college, and the college cut off the spigot.

The essay I have linked here is a good fact based argument as to why the verdict should not be allowed to stand.  And here, I will say why I believe the first appellate court and the following one or ones  (I don't know shit about Ohio's judiciary) should throw out the verdict.  As the writer of that essay  says, this verdict leaves all colleges and universities open to suit for what is really student conduct.  (In Ohio at least.  The case is only precedent in Ohio.  And there they have a weird but not perhaps unique allowance to sue based on aiding and abetting  defamation.) 

And who would be most at risk in Ohio if this ruling is allowed to stand?  Why that would be the people of the Great State of Ohio!  The University System of Ohio has over 500,000 students these days.  So will the appellate courts  leave the State open to suits like that? I don't think so.  An unofficial part of the job of being a judge in the state system is,"Thou shalt not cause the state to lose money if it can be avoided."  And let us describe the nightmare scenario.  Not only can butt sore townies sue, or invited speakers to campus, but in the age of the Internet, anyone, anywhere could file a suit against The University System of Ohio, if they say they were defamed and some student used school property to allegedly do so (like the servers that connect to the Internet) in their protest, or boycott, whatnot.  And that is a lot of exposure for the State.

But wait, there's more.  There is the other downside to letting the verdict stand. The University System of Ohio would have to crack down on students' 1st Amendment protected speech.  So that means exposure to more lawsuits that way too!

I am sure the trial judge and the jury felt sorry for the Gibsons.  But I fully expect the higher courts to say, sorry kids, you don't get a penny.  It's not that appellate courts do not care about individuals.  But it is not their job to give a fuck about that shit;  their job is to view things from the institutional level.  And a precedent that leaves The University System of Ohio, and all other Ohio colleges with their cheeks spread wide open is something that must be overruled, from the institutional view.

Now there is some other tangent I will only mention.  And that is the Anti SJW crowd loves the verdict here, because  they love the idea of sticking to those people.  And the college administrators  might have been assholish here.  But that by itself is not a tort.

And now I will make my last point.  At minimum I expect a higher court to void the damages award.  They should, truth be told, rule that the trial judge erred in not granting summary judgment on all counts, before letting this shitty case go to a jury.  But at minimum, the argument for damages was ass backwards.

Oberlin College aided and abetted some of it's students defamation of the Gibsons.  And then for a while, based on the defamation Oberlin College aided and abetted in, Gibsons lost money they should have earned from continuing to do business with Oberlin College.  Never mind the fact that Oberlin College later resumed doing business with the Gibsons. Oberlin College finally stopped doing business with the Gibsons after we, the Gibsons  sued them.  So give us millions of dollars.


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