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Missing apostrophe in Facebook post lands a man in defamation court

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.

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, Mr. Zadravic deleted it. But it was too late. Mr. Gan became aware of the message and filed a defamation claim.

A judge ruled that the lack of an apostrophe on the word “employees” could be read to suggest a “systematic pattern of conduct” by Mr. Gan’s agency rather than an accusation involving one employee. So she allowed the case to proceed.

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