ELYRIA — The lawsuit filed by Gibson’s Bakery against Oberlin College could go to trial next month.
A tentative trial date of May 1 has been set, according to Judge John Miraldi’s office, but the two sides still could work out a settlement before then.
Gibson’s sued the college and Meredith Raimondo, vice president and dean of students, for libel, slander, interference with business relationships, interference with contracts, deceptive trade practices, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent hiring and trespass.
The rift between the bakery and the college began in 2016 when a student tried to buy alcohol with a fake ID and shoplift from Allyn Gibson, who is the son of the bakery’s owner, David Gibson. Allyn Gibson followed the student out of the store and the two got into a physical altercation.
Two other students got involved in the incident, and police have said when they arrived the three student were hitting Allyn Gibson while he was on the ground.
The incident became racially charged because Allyn Gibson is white and the students are black. All three students pleaded guilty in August to misdemeanor charges and read statements into the record acknowledging that Allyn Gibson was within his right to detain the shoplifter and that his actions were not racially motivated.
The bakery contends it has suffered a loss of business as a result of the protests by Oberlin College students and community members that ensued after the incident.
Last year, Miraldi denied a motion to transfer venue of the trial to Cuyahoga County after Oberlin College argued it couldn’t get a fair trial in Lorain County due to media coverage.
Attorneys for both sides did not return calls requesting comment.
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