A browse through cases using the term "semi-colon" reveals the following collection of interesting and sometimes discordant points:
The court notes that this is not a preferred method of writing disjunctively. If a writer uses a conjunction such as "or", only a comma need be inserted. If the writer wishes to dispense with the conjunction, a semi-colon is inserted between the independent phrases. See W. Strunk & E.B. White, Elements of Style 5-6 (3d. ed. 1979). Despite some problems with style, however, the court believes it cannot ignore the obvious intent of the use of both the disjunctive conjunction "or" and the use of a semi-colon. They are a veritable declaration of independent clauses.
In this case, there are three disjunctive "ors" and five semi-colons employed in the definition of misappropriation. This construction indicates that there are multiple, equal paths to liability under the statute. See, e.g., Elgin Nursing & Rehab. Ctr., 718 F.3d at 494 ("The punctuation between the clauses, a semicolon, tends to suggest related but separate ideas and stands for `or,' not `and.' Clauses separated by a semicolon are presumed to be independent clauses.") (citation and internal quotation marks omitted); United States v. Reece, CRIM. 12-00146, 2013 WL 3865067, at *6 (W.D.La. July 24, 2013) (Noting that a series of three numbered paragraphs, where the first ends with a semi-colon and the second ends with a semi-colon followed by the word "or," "ordinarily suggest[s] that the three paragraphs are equal and that satisfaction of any one of the three paragraphs would satisfy the definition of the term...."). This conclusion is further supported by the fact that every paragraph nested within the definition of "misappropriation" begins with a lower case word. See, e.g., Tolbert v. Nat'l Union Fire Ins. Co. of Pittsburgh, 3:08-CV-1112-N, 2009 WL 9072606, at *4 (N.D.Tex. June 24, 2009), aff'd sub nom. Tolbert ex rel. Tolbert v. Nat'l Union Fire Ins. Co. of Pittsburgh, 657 F.3d 262 (5th Cir.2011) (noting that paragraphs beginning with lower case words indicate that the paragraphs are intended to be part of a single series connected by conjunction).
J & J Construction Co. v. Bricklayers & Allied Craftsmen, 664 N.W.2d 728, 742 . 7 (Mich. 2003) (Young, J., concurring):
The presentation of the Petition Clause as one separate from the clauses concerning freedom of speech in the First Amendment alerts us textually that the purpose and intent of the Petition Clause must be distinct from its sibling clauses. Higginson, A short history of the right to petition government for the redress of grievances, 96 Yale L. J. 142, 155-156 (1986). Further, I note that whereas the Free Speech Clause and the Free Press Clause are separated by a comma, both are separated from the Petition Clause by a semi-colon. See Kesavan & Paulsen, Is West Virginia constitutional?, 90 Cal. L. R. 291, 334-352 (2002) (discussing, inter alia, the interpretation of the sixty-five semi-colons contained in the original constitution, particularly the punctuation of U.S. Const., art. IV, § 3 concerning the creation of new states).