An Update on the Rogers and Aliant “Comma” Dispute

In August I posted this item about the dispute between Rogers Communications Inc. and Aliant Inc. (now Bell Aliant Regional Communications) regarding the role of a comma in a contract provision.

I know that this dispute has received a lot of attention, but I was nevertheless surprised to see an article about it in today’s New York Times. (Click here for a copy of the article; you may have to register.)

After I posted my blog item, I was retained by counsel to Rogers to act as expert witness for Rogers in this dispute. This is what the Times had to say about that:

To bolster its appeal, Rogers commissioned a 69-page affidavit, mostly about commas, from Kenneth A. Adams, a lawyer from Garden City, N.Y., who is the author of two books on contract language. It disputes the regulator’s analysis of what Mr. Adams calls “the rule of the last antecedent.”

It’s been fascinating looking at this dispute from both the outside and the inside. Unsurprisingly, it has proved rather more involved than I initially thought. Once this dispute has run its course, I’m sure I’ll write something about it.

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.