Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Offer and Acceptance Experiment

Sunday, February 24th, 2019

Offer and Acceptance Experiment

Professor as Dean’s Fellow – 1/31/19 ++

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2019

Instead of a DF, I will be hosting weekly sessions for hypos and questions. We will meet on Thursdays, at 4:30 in room F109. No attendance will be taken. No demerits for non-attendance. First session, next week, January 31.

Spring 2019 – Welcome

Friday, December 21st, 2018

I hope that you will enjoy Contracts and will use this blog to raise questions and provide your comments. This blog is a moderated one, meaning that you cannot post directly on it. On the right are important links. If you click on “Prior Posts,” you will be taken to pages that you can use throughout the course. Best wishes for a great 2019, Robert Rosen

LCOMM in Contracts

Monday, February 12th, 2018

A lack of an Oxford comma cost dairy $5 million

By Lindsay Benson
February 9, 2018

(CNN)A group of Maine dairy delivery drivers will receive $5 million in a proposed settlement for unpaid overtime, according to court records filed on Thursday.
A judge ruled in the drivers’ favor last March, and it was all thanks to the lack of an Oxford comma in a Maine labor law.
An Oxford comma is the comma used after the second-to-last item in a list of three or more things, “item A, item B, and item C.” It’s not often used in journalism.
The drivers’ employer had claimed they were exempt from overtime pay, according to Maine’s labor laws.
Part of the law exempts certain tasks from receiving overtime compensation. This is what the law’s guidelines originally stated about exempted tasks:
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.
Without the Oxford comma, the line “packing for shipment or distribution,” could be referring to packing and shipping as a single act, or as two separate tasks.
The drivers argued that it reads as a single act, and since they didn’t actually do any packing, they shouldn’t have been exempt from overtime pay.
“Specifically, if that [list of exemptions] used a serial comma to mark off the last of the activities that it lists, then the exemption would clearly encompass an activity that the drivers perform,” the circuit judge wrote.
According to court documents, the dairy, while denying any wrongdoing, believed further litigation would be protracted and expensive. The proposed settlement will be considered by a federal judge.
To prevent anymore Oxford comma drama, the Maine Legislature has since edited this exemption, replacing the punctuation with semicolons.

For those interested in the court decision referenced in the article, it is O’Connor v. Oakhurst Dairy, 851 F.3d 69 (1st Cir. 2017). For other cases decided in part based on the presence or absence of a comma, see United States v. Ron Pair Enterprises, Inc., 489 U.S. 235 (1989) (interpreting the Bankruptcy Code); American Int’l Group, Inc. v. Bank of Am., 712 F.3d 775 (2d Cir. 2013) (interpreting a statute); Shelby County State Bank v. Van Diest Supply Co., 303 F.3d 832 (7th Cir. 2002) (interpreting a security agreement); Berkshire Aircraft, Inc. v. AEC Leasing Co., 84 P.3d 608 (Kan. Ct. App. 2002) (interpreting a contract); Judson v. Associated Meats & Seafoods, 651 P.2d 222 (Wash. App. 1982) (interpreting a statute that had been amended to remove a comma); Reeves v. American Sec. & Trust Co., 115 F.2d 145, 146 (D.C. App. 1940) (interpreting a will). But cf. Overhauser v. United States, 45 F.3d 1085, 1087 (7th Cir. 1995) (expressing skepticism about the grammatical expertise of the drafters of legal documents, and therefore of the relevance of grammatical arguments).