Brocker.Org: Comma comeuppance: When rogue punctuation proves highly-priced – BBC Information


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A US dairy faces an overtime monthly bill of about $10m (£8m), following a group of truck drivers gained a pay dispute that hinged on some punctuation.

An charm court docket sided with the drivers, saying the absence of a comma in the state of Maine’s overtime legal guidelines made the polices also ambiguous.

The ruling has been branded “profoundly nerdy” by Quartz, even though the Guardian says it “will delight grammar nerds and Oxford comma enthusiasts any where”.

So how did it take place?

Properly, Maine’s law says the next things to do do not qualify for overtime pay: “The canning, processing, preserving, freezing, drying, internet marketing, storing, packing for shipment or distribution of: (1) Agricultural create (two) Meat and fish solutions and (three) Perishable food items.”

The drivers claimed the absence of a comma in between “shipment” and “or distribution” intended the legislation utilized only to the one activity of “packing”, alternatively than to “packing” and “distribution” as two separate things to do.

And because drivers distribute the merchandise, but do not pack them, they argued they ended up consequently eligible for overtime pay – backdated more than several years.

A district court docket experienced earlier ruled in favour of the dairy company.

But circuit judge David J Barron overturned that, producing: “We conclude that the exemption’s scope is in fact not so crystal clear in this regard.

“And because, underneath Maine law, ambiguities in the state’s wage and hour legal guidelines must be construed liberally in buy to attain their remedial goal, we adopt the drivers’ narrower looking through of the exemption.”

Their employer, Oakhurst Dairy, is probable to charm.

But if it ended up to in the long run shed, it would not be the first small business to tumble foul of punctuation issues, spelling mistakes and typos.

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The misplaced comma

When US defence big Lockheed Martin signed a offer to create Hercules navy transportation plane for an unnamed air power, it understood production would get several years.

So the contract it drew up in 1999 said that the selling price of the planes would boost more than time, to account for inflation.

Sadly the components utilised to get the job done out the selling price of the plane experienced a typo: a comma that was just one decimal place out.

A senior Lockheed govt at the time was quoted as saying: “That comma cost Lockheed $70m.”

But in advance of we really feel also sorry for the company, in the former yr it experienced documented whole revenue of about $1bn.

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The mispriced share offer

In December 2005, inventory marketplace investing in a recently listed Japanese organization was thrown into chaos by a broker’s typing error.

Shares in J-Com plunged following the broker at Mizuho Securities attempted to provide 610,000 shares at 1 yen each. They experienced intended to provide just one share for 610,000 yen.

A fault at the Tokyo Inventory Trade intended the offer could not be reversed, costing Mizuho about 40bn yen (really worth $333m or £190m at the time).

We are guessing the trader’s reward wasn’t great that yr.

The ‘s’ that ruined a multi-million pound small business

Officers at Providers Property – the formal British isles sign up of corporations – led to the demise of a Welsh engineering company following a spelling mistake.

Information experienced been amended to present Taylor & Sons experienced been wound up in 2009.

But the failing small business was yet another company referred to as Taylor & Son – with “Son” in the singular.

Taylor & Sons dated back to 1875 and far more than 250 folks lost their careers when it went underneath.

Former co-operator, Philip Davison-Sebry, claimed £8.8m in damages more than the combine-up.

This 7 days the BBC discovered that Providers Property experienced agreed a private settlement.

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The low-priced airline ticket. Like genuinely low-priced.

Fancy flying small business course from Toronto to Cyprus for $39?

Properly back in 2006 you experienced the prospect to do just that following Alitalia listed that fare as an alternative of the typical $three,900.

In the time it took to accurate the mistake, some two,000 travellers took edge of the deal.

And when the airline attempted to cancel the tickets, the backlash was so huge that it decided to save its reputation and honour the selling price as a goodwill gesture.

The cost to the carrier was estimated at $7.7m.

The misspelled beer

In the planet of beer gathering, Allsopp’s Arctic Ale receives the pulse racing.

And when just one collector set an unopened one hundred fifty five-yr-aged bottle of just one of the planet’s rarest beers on eBay in 2007 he was anticipating a huge payday.

Sadly it was listed as “Allsop’s” with just just one “p” that means it was not extensively viewed and obtained just two bids, closing at a profitable selling price of $308.

Two months later the profitable bidder marketed the beer on.

Outlined as “Allsopp’s”, he obtained far more than one hundred fifty offers, and marketed it for far more than $500,000.

Yet another sobering reminder of the great importance of interest to element.