False accusations of racism or misogyny today are no less capable of defamatory meaning than accusations of child molestation or other crimes that shock the conscience. There can no longer be any serious contention that such charges are immune from defamation liability because they are fair comment or because they do not necessarily expose a victim to hate, contempt, or ridicule in the community.
Forbes reported: "The jury initially assessed $11 million in compensatory damages and $33 million in punitive damages against Oberlin, for a total of $44 million, but the judge cut back the amount to $25 million because Ohio law has caps on damages. The judge then tacked on $6.5 million in attorney’s fees bringing the verdict back up to $31 million."
The case is Gibson Bros., Inc. v. Oberlin College, No. 17CV193761 (Ct. Common Pleas Lorain County, Ohio, Sept. 18. 2019). The Ohio trial court publishes only the docket online. Oberlin appealed (filed Oct. 8, 2019), and the Gibsons cross-appealed (filed Oct. 18, 2019). CNN has the initial complaint (filed Nov. 17, 2017).