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Missing apostrophe in FB post lands man in court


NEW YORK:” A missing apostrophe in a Facebook post could cost a real estate agent in Australia tens of thousands of dollars after a court ruled a defamation case against him could proceed. In the post last year, Anthony Zadravic, the agent, appears to accuse Stuart Gan, his former employer at a real estate agency, of not paying retirement funds to all the agency’s workers. At issue is the word “employees” in the post, which read: “Oh Stuart Gan!! Selling multi million $ homes in Pearl Beach but can’t pay his employees superannuation,” referring to Australia’s retirement system, in which money is paid by employers into super accounts for employees. “Shame on you Stuart!!! 2 yrs and still waiting!!!” Less than 12 hours after the post was published October 22, Zadravic, who is based on the Central Coast in New South Wales, deleted it. But it was too late. Gan became aware of the message and filed a defamation claim against Zadravic.
On Thursday, a judge in New South Wales ruled that the lack of apostrophe on the word “employees” could be read to suggest a“systematic pattern of conduct” by Gan’s agency rather than an accusation involving one employee. So she allowed the case to proceed. Neither Zadravic’s lawyers nor Gan i responded to requests for comment.
In matters of punctuation, social media is the Wild West. In some corners of the internet, careless grammar is highly tolerated — even a badge of honour. In legal matters, however, disputed punctuation can cost millions. One recent case in Portland, Maine, involving overtime for truck drivers hinged on the lack of an Oxford comma — the often-skipped final comma in a series like “A, B, and C” — in state law. The case, settled in 2018 for $5 million, gained international notoriety when the 1st US circuit court of Appeals ruled that the missing comma created enough uncertainty to side with the drivers. It gave grammar obsessives and those who adore the Oxford comma a chance to revel in the victory.
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Source from timesofindia.indiatimes.com

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