Screwing Up Decimal Points

Via this post on the WSJ Law Blog, I learned about this Bloomberg article. Here’s the gist of it:

Kai Herbert, a Switzerland-based currency trader, is suing JPMorgan for about 580,000 pounds ($920,000), his lawyers said at a trial in London this week. The original contract said Herbert’s annual pay would be 24 million rand ($3.1 million). JPMorgan blamed the mistake on a typographical error and said the figure should have been 2.4 million rand, according to court documents.

As is always the case when you have a contract dispute that originated in a drafting glitch, the question is, how could the drafter have avoided the problem?

Here’s a solution I wouldn’t recommend—using both words and digits to express a number. For my reasons, see this 2011 blog post.

Instead, I recommend that you proofread your freakin’ numbers!

About the author

Ken Adams is the leading authority on how to say clearly whatever you want to say in a contract. He’s author of A Manual of Style for Contract Drafting, and he offers online and in-person training around the world. He’s also chief content officer of LegalSifter, Inc., a company that combines artificial intelligence and expertise to assist with review of contracts.

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