Free speech and the price of defamation

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In 2016 an African American student from Oberlin College in Ohio, trying to use a fake ID to buy wine, was taken into custody by police. The arrest prompted demonstrations that accused the store’s owners of being racist. And while the student plead guilty, the store’s owners sued Oberlin – claiming the college’s support for the student protesters caused reputational damage – and were awarded $31.5 million. Senior contributor Ted Koppel examines the case, which poses a perhaps unanswerable question: What is the fair price for a family’s good name?

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