The Oxford Comma Case (O’Connor v. Oakhurst Dairy)

For grammar lovers the Oxford Comma is an important element. For legal writers the Oxford Commas is something that has legal implications, at least the 1st Circuit decided this when they ruled on the O’Connor v. Oakhurst Dairy No. 16-1901 (1st Cir. 2017). In this case the lack of a comma won several million dollars worth of overtime for drivers for a dairy company in Maine. NBC and the NY Times both had articles on this case when the ruling was released. Both news outlets explained what an Oxford Comma is and how it is used. The opinion issued by the court when into detail about how the text is to be interpreted and several legal writing guidelines that indicate when an Oxford Comma should be used. Additionally, the judge pointed out that the labor laws in main are to be read in favor of the workers when there is ambiguity. While I do not teach a legal writing course, this is a course that anyone who writes laws, contracts, or any legal documents should become familiar with.

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