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Daughter’s Facebook Post Voids $80,000 Settlement – eDiscovery Trends

My boss reminded me that we haven’t had a good social media disaster story in a while, so here goes.  I know it’s a few weeks old, but it’s still a good story if you haven’t heard it.

As reported a few weeks ago on CNN, the former head of a private preparatory school in Miami lost out an $80,000 discrimination settlement after his daughter boasted about it on Facebook.

When Patrick Snay, the former head of Gulliver Preparatory School, filed an age discrimination complaint when his 2010-11 contract wasn’t renewed, the school and Snay came to an agreement in which Snay would be paid $10,000 in back pay, as well as an $80,000 settlement.

He was all set.  Then, his daughter posted a comment to Facebook, as follows:

“Mama and Papa Snay won the case against Gulliver. Gulliver is now officially paying for my vacation to Europe this summer. SUCK IT.”

And, she sent it to her 1,200 Facebook followers, which included many current and former Gulliver students and word got back to school officials.

The problem?   It seems that Snay had a confidentiality agreement which stated that neither Snay nor his wife could speak about the settlement to anyone except for his attorneys and other professional advisers.  That included their daughter.  Within a few days, Gulliver Schools sent a letter to Snay’s attorneys stating that Snay had broken the confidentiality agreement and that he would not be receiving the $80,000 settlement.

Snay filed a motion to enforce the settlement and initially won in a Circuit Court ruling. However, the school appealed and the Third District Court of Appeals for the State of Florida agreed that Snay had, in fact, violated confidentiality and reversed the Circuit Court ruling.  Goodbye $80,000.

Sometimes the case is lost even after it’s won.

That’s why it’s important to think before you hit send.  Even if you’re still in grade school.

So, what do you think? Have you seen any cases lately that turned on social media evidence? Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

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