Teen’s Facebook Status Costs Father $80,000 Settlement

Florida teenager Dana Snay cost her father $80,000 by posting on Facebook. “Mama and Papa Snay won the case against Gulliver. Gulliver is now officially paying for my vacation to Europe this summer. SUCK IT,” she wrote in a Facebook status. The post may have been seen by any of Snay’s 1,200 Facebook friends.

Dana’s father, Patrick Snay, 69, initially won an age discrimination case against Gulliver Preparatory School. (He was the former headmaster.) “In November 2011, the school and Snay came to an agreement in which Snay would be paid $10,000 in back pay, and an $80,000 settlement. Gulliver Schools also agreed to cut Snay’s attorneys a check for $60,000,” CNN reports. Wielding Dana’s status, the school appealed the ruling “before the ink could dry on the deal,” arguing that the post violated an important confidentiality agreement, CNN adds.

“The agreement stated that neither Snay nor his wife could speak about the settlement to anyone except for his attorneys and other professional advisers,” CNN explains.

Courts ruled in favor of Gulliver Preparatory School earlier this month, reversing the former headmaster’s original settlement.

“Honestly, I’m surprised that the court enforced such a large penalty provision in the settlement agreement. But, then again, the violation – broadcasting the existence of the agreement to 1,200 people – is fairly egregious,” Eric B Meyer of The Employee Handbook told BBC News.

Word got back to attorneys through Gulliver students and employees who are friends with Dana on Facebook. Experts believe that confiding to his daughter alone would not have breached the agreement. Dana sharing with up to 1,200 Facebook Friends, however, easily infringed the confidentiality agreement terms. BBC News speculates that the father can appeal the court’s decision again — meaning that the case “is not necessarily over.”

“Social media content is certainly having an impact on litigation discovery,” explains Brad Jenkins, President and CEO of CloudNine Discovery. “This is a little different scenario because it’s after discovery and after the settlement. Our company has been doing work for clients in regards to preserving and investigating content found on social media sites as part of electronic discovery for some time now. The popularity of social media means that it will continue to play a part in eDiscovery in certain cases. In this example, it’s going to make it easier to prove that the plaintiff who received a settlement breached their confidentiality agreement.”

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