Home Daily News Dairy company settles overtime suit that… Legislation & Lobbying By Debra Cassens Weiss Posted February 13, 2018, 7:30 am CST Shutterstock.com. A dairy company in Maine has agreed to pay $5 million to its drivers after a federal appeals court last year found ambiguity in a state overtime law because it lacked an Oxford comma. The settlement between the Oakhurst Dairy and its drivers still needs court approval, report the Portland Press Herald and the New York Times. According to the Times, the deal ended a case “that electrified punctuation pedants, grammar goons and comma connoisseurs.” The Boston-based 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last March that the uncertain meaning of an exception in the overtime law made it unclear whether it applied to workers involved in the distribution of food. As a result, the law should be interpreted in favor of the drivers, the appeals court had said. The statute had provided that workers were not … [Read more...] about Dairy company settles overtime suit that hinged on lack of Oxford comma
Ambiguity caused by lack of a comma in a law on overtime pay has benefited Maine dairy delivery drivers.The Boston-based 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals pointed out the issue in the first sentence of its March 13 decision (PDF). “For want of a comma, we have this case,” the court said in an opinion by Judge David Barron. The Daily Labor Report, Quartz and FindLaw have stories.Because the statute was ambiguous, it should be interpreted in favor of the dairy workers who distribute milk but do not pack it, the appeals court found.The court was asked to interpret a Maine law that requires overtime pay, except for some activities that involve foods, including “packing for shipment or distribution” of the foods. The court was asked to decide whether “packing for shipment or distribution” referred to one activity that involves packing or two separate activities—one that involves packing and the other that involves distribution. If distribution were … [Read more...] about Oxford comma issue benefits drivers in overtime case
Last week, it was widely reported that the lack of a so-called Oxford comma made a Maine law regarding overtime pay ambiguous, according to the Boston-based 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. An opinion by Judge David Barron interpreted the law in favor of dairy workers who distribute milk. “For want of a comma, we have this case,” the court said.Then this week at Above the Law, the anonymous law professor LawProfBlawg wrote a column that also referenced the Oxford comma ruling. However, this post focused primarily on the trend away from double spaces after a period. “I have started a White House petition to require the federal government to add that extra space at the end of the sentence to all documents and to use the Oxford comma,” the blogger writes. “I’m tired of people telling me to wear the cargo shorts of single-spaced efficiency. I’m done with the looks of judgment and contempt.”So this week, we ask you: What grammar or … [Read more...] about What grammar battles do you find yourself fighting?
A New York Times obituary for rocket scientist Yvonne Brill has sparked outrage on Twitter and a defense by a Harvard law academic fellow who nonetheless takes issue with the newspaper’s punctuation.The Times changed its lede in response to the criticism, according to the New York Times Public Editor’s Journal. The first version said: “She made a mean beef stroganoff, followed her husband from job to job and took eight years off from work to raise three children. ‘The world’s best mom,’ her son Matthew said.“But Yvonne Brill, who died on Wednesday at 88 in Princeton, N.J., was also a brilliant rocket scientist, who in the early 1970s invented a propulsion system to help keep communications satellites from slipping out of their orbits.”The new first paragraph now reads: “She was a brilliant rocket scientist who followed her husband from job to job and took eight years off from work to raise three children. ‘The world’s … [Read more...] about Obit that spurred Twitter outrage sparks punctuation criticism by law prof
Good grammar and proper spelling can go by the wayside when texting and tweeting, a trend that is extending into the workplace.Bryan Garner is among the managers trying to do something about it, the Wall Street Journal reports. The editor of Black’s Law Dictionary has also co-written a new book with Justice Antonin Scalia on textualism. He is a stickler for good grammar in writing and at his company, LawProse.New employees at Garner’s firm aren’t hired unless they can pass spelling and grammar tests. The requirement applies even to people who just want to pack boxes, the story says. Important letters and emails aren’t sent out until they are copyedited by at least two people.The story includes other examples of corporate crackdowns on grammar gaffes, including one manager who fined employees 25 cents for using the word “like” in their sentences. Sometimes there is disagreement, however, over the rules.The story cites a battle over the Oxford comma … [Read more...] about Grammar Sticklers Police Workplace; Lawyer Battles Colleagues over the Oxford Comma
A federal appeals court ruling in a case coming out of Maine involving overtime pay and dairy delivery drivers didn’t come down to trucks, milk, or money. Instead, it revolved around one of the biggest debates in the “grammar nerd” world – the “Oxford comma.” Do you remember the Oxford comma from your grammar school days? It is used before the words “and” or “or” in a list of three or more things. Also known as the serial comma, its advocates say it clarifies sentences in which things are listed. Although not all writers or publishers use it, it can make the meaning of a sentence clearer. Nonetheless, the debate over its use is usually pretty inconsequential. So how did it play center stage in a recent class action lawsuit by Oakhurst Dairy truck drivers in Maine?Maine’s wage payment laws say employees engaged in the following activities are not eligible to receive overtime pay: … [Read more...] about Long Live Oxford Comma: Oakhurst Dairy Lawsuit
Court Offers Narrow Interpretation of Cyberinsurance.If you’ve been paying attention to the news or any of your social media channels, you’ve probably heard people talking about cyberinsurance and that your company needs it. You might even have been told that cyberinsurance is a panacea for all risks related to cybersecurity and data privacy. To date, there has been very little publicly available litigation about the meaning of cyberinsurance policies. One federal court changed that with a decision issued on May 11, 2015, in Travelers Property Casualty Co. of America v. Federal Recovery Services, Inc., No. 2:14-cv-170 TS, slip op. (D. Utah May 11, 2015). Unfortunately, the decision ruled against the policyholder and offered a narrow interpretation of the cyberinsurance policy involved in the dispute. The Cyberinsurance Policy in Dispute.The policyholders are in the business of processing, storing, transmitting, and handling data. (Slip op. at 1.) Presumably to cover those … [Read more...] about Will Your Tech E&O Insurance Cover Your Retention of Someone Else’s Electronic Data?
You most likely have heard of the Oxford Comma. It is also referred to as the "serial comma." If you are not familiar with this literary device, it is a comma placed before the word "and" or another conjunction (like or or nor) in a series of three or more terms.So, here's one of the more famous examples of why the Oxford Comma is necessary: "We invited the strippers, JFK and Stalin." Adding the Comma eliminates the ambiguity of the identities of the strippers: "We invited the strippers, JFK, and Stalin."Judge McGuire considered the effect of an Oxford Comma this week in Medfusion, Inc. v. Allscripts Healthcare Solutions, Inc., 2015 NCBC 31. The contractual language at issue was in an agreement between the Plaintiff and Defendant to market an "online patient portal." (That's a way for patients to communicate on-line with their doctors.) It said that "in no event shall either party be liable for any loss or damage to revenues, profits, or goodwill or … [Read more...] about NC Business Court Takes On The Oxford Comma
A Maine dairy company has received a potentially expensive grammar lesson from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, which held on March 13, 2017, that the company’s delivery drivers may be eligible for up to $10 million in overtime pay, because the lack of a comma in the statute regarding exemptions from the state’s wage and hour law rendered the scope of the exemption ambiguous.Grammarians have long disputed whether writers should include a comma before the final item in a list—the so-called “serial” or “Oxford” comma. Opponents of the serial comma consider it superfluous. Supporters argue that the serial comma is necessary to eliminate potential ambiguity, as in the example, “I’d like to thank my parents, Ayn Rand and God.” Are Ayn Rand and God the writer’s parents, or are they being thanked in addition to his or her parents? Without the serial comma, it is impossible to … [Read more...] about Maine Delivery Drivers Deemed Overtime-Eligible “For Want of a Comma”
We invite you to view Employment Law This Week - a weekly rundown of the latest news in the field. We look at the latest trends, important court decisions, and new developments that could impact your work.This week’s stories include ... (1) Drivers Win Overtime Dispute Because of Missing CommaOur top story: “For Want of a Comma.” It seems that punctuation was a key factor in a recent class action suit from a group of dairy delivery drivers in Maine. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit ruled that an exemption in the states overtime law is ambiguous enough to support the drivers’ overtime claim. The drivers argued that the exemption applies only to workers who pack perishable food products for distribution—and not those who actually distribute the products. On appeal, the First Circuit agreed that a missing “Oxford” comma makes the drivers’ reading of the exemption a reasonable one. Michael Thompson has more:“Different … [Read more...] about Employment Law This Week, March 27, 2017: Missing Comma Affects Case, Sexual Orientation Discrimination, DOL Budget Cuts, New Complaint Filing System [VIDEO]