The Comma that Caused a Lawsuit

This story was extensively covered at the time and it deserves a permanent home here, a comma cause célèbre. And if you haven’t yet read Eats Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss, I highly recommend it!

Rogers thought it had a five-year deal with Aliant Inc. to string Rogers’ cable lines across thousands of utility poles in the Maritimes for an annual fee of $9.60 per pole. But early last year, Rogers was informed that the contract was being cancelled and the rates were going up. Impossible, Rogers thought, since its contract was iron-clad until the spring of 2007 and could potentially be renewed for another five years.

Armed with the rules of grammar and punctuation, Aliant disagreed. The construction of a single sentence in the 14-page contract allowed the entire deal to be scrapped with only one-year’s notice, the company argued.

Comma Quirk Irks Rogers

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