J. F. Oberlin University has finished paying its $25 million judgment in a defamation lawsuit. WGN Radio 720

OBERLIN. OHIO (AP) — Oberlin College has completed a $25 million judgment payment to an Ohio baker who won a defamation lawsuit against the school after a shoplifting incident involving three black students. did.

Store owner Allyn Gibson and her son, David Gibson, sued Oberlin College in 2017, claiming they were slandered by the school and damaged their business as a result of protests against shoplifting.

A year-long legal battle involving a school and town known for its liberal tendencies erupted into debates over racism, free speech and political correctness.

In 2019, a Lorraine County jury awarded Gibsons $44 million in damages, which a judge later reduced to $25 million. The Ohio Supreme Court said in August it would not allow him to appeal the ruling.

Gibsons’ attorney, Brandon McHugh, told WKYC-TV in Cleveland on Thursday.

In addition to the $25 million judgment, the school paid over $11 million in legal fees and interest.

The lawsuit comes after David Gibson’s son, also named Allin, tracked down and cracked down on a black male student suspected of stealing a bottle of wine in 2016. Her two black female students who were with the male student tried to intervene. All three were arrested and later pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges.

The arrest sparked protests outside Gibsons Bakery, where handbills were distributed and Oberlin College’s vice-chancellor and student dean accused Gibsons of being racist. A student senate resolution condemning the Gibson family was emailed to all students and posted in a display case in the school’s student center, where he was kept for a year. Oberlin College officials have ordered on-campus food suppliers to stop purchasing bakery products from Gibson’s.

In a statement earlier this fall, J. F. Oberlin University said it hopes the conclusion of the lawsuit will begin healing for the community.

The two original owners who filed the lawsuit have since died. David Gibson died in November 2019 at the age of 65. Allyn Gibson she passed away in February. he was 93 years old. J. F. Oberlin University has finished paying its $25 million judgment in a defamation lawsuit. WGN Radio 720

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