Missed comma costly
A dairy company in Portland settled a court case for US$5 million earlier this year because of a missing comma. Three truck drivers for Oakhurst Dairy claimed that they were owed years of unpaid overtime wages, all because of the way commas were used in legislation governing overtime payments. The state's laws declared that overtime wasn't due for workers involved in "the canning, processing, preserving, freezing, drying, marketing, storing, packing for shipment or distribution of: 1) agricultural produce; 2) meat and fish products; and 3) perishable foods". The drivers managed to successfully argue that because there was no comma after "shipment" and before "or distribution", they were owed overtime pay. If a comma had been there, the law would have explicitly ruled out those who distribute perishable foods. Because there was confusion, the US Court of Appeals ruled in their favour, benefiting around 120 of the firm's drivers. David Webbert, the lawyer who helped bring the case against the company, told reporters at the time that the inclusion of a comma in the clause "would have sunk our ship". (Source: BBC)
Stock photo shocks
After her face was used in a McDonald's advert in China, South African author Shubnum Khan thought she'd explain via Twitter how she ended up appearing in adverts all over the world. "Six or so years ago, a friend in Canada posted a pic on my FB wall to say she found an advert of me promoting immigration in a Canadian newspaper," she tweets. Now Shubnum wasn't too bothered by this but she couldn't understand why her face was in a paper all the way on that side of the world. Then a friend reminded her they did a free photoshoot a few years ago at university. "We signed a release form at the start (I thought it was to give him permission to use the photos for his portfolio). We didn't read the small print. So I contact the photographer and he says they're now stock photos that he sells." Shubnum did a reverse Google search and realised she was selling a lot of stuff around the world. "I'm selling carpets in NYC, leading treks in Cambodia, or looking for love in France." Apart from the fact she was never paid for these adverts, Shubnum think this is bad form.