Punctuation dispute cost company $5MM.
Back in October, I wrote about the O'Connor v. Oakhurst Dairy case. It focused on Maine’s overtime law and whether the lack of a serial comma meant the employees were exempt and eligible for back overtime pay. The employees, of course, wanted to be deemed exempt and therefore entitled to overtime pay. The employer wanted a less-strict interpretation and the Court to find the employees were not exempt.
The Court eventually determined the missing comma meant the employees were exempt and due overtime. I originally wrote, “Because of one single comma, it could cost this company thousands of dollars.”
I was wrong; it cost the company $5 million.
Many companies and individuals do not want to incur the cost of hiring an attorney to review a contract, or a real estate purchase and sale agreement, or an employment agreement. However, a small amount of money spent on the front-end of a transaction could save you a lot of money down the road if an issue arises with that agreement.
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