A former headmaster lost his $80,000 discrimination settlement after his daughter accidentally violated the terms of his confidentiality agreement by bragging to her friends on Facebook in a satus update. .
The Third District Court of Appeal tossed out an $80,000 discrimination settlement Wednesday between Gulliver Preparatory School and its former headmaster Patrick Snay, ruling the ex-employee and his daughter breached the terms of a confidential agreement when she took to social media to brag about it.
“Mama and Papa Snay won the case against Gulliver,” Dana Snay posted days later to her 1,200 Facebook friends. “Gulliver is now officially paying for my vacation to Europe this summer. SUCK IT.”
The post, seen by current and former Gulliver students, made its way back to the school’s attorneys, who told the Snays they’d violated the deal. Patrick Snay last year won a Circuit Court ruling to enforce the deal, but Judge Linda Ann Wells overturned that decision Wednesday.
“Snay violated the agreement by doing exactly what he had promised not to do,” Wells wrote. “His daughter then did precisely what the confidentiality agreement was designed to prevent.”
The case originated in 2010 when Gulliver declined to renew Snay’s contract following years of employment. Snay, now 69, claimed age discrimination and retaliation that involved his daughter, a student at the school.
Gulliver settled the case in November of 2011 and agreed to pay checks of $10,000 in back wages, another $60,000 to Snay’s attorneys, and an $80,000 settlement to Snay. The terms hinged on a confidentiality agreement that according to Wells required Snay and his wife to keep the “terms and existence” of the agreement private.
Snay, however, immediately told his daughter that he’d settled and was happy with the results. He said in depositions that he and his wife knew they had to say something because she suffered “psychological scars” from issues during her enrollment at the school and was aware that they were in mediation with Gulliver attorneys.
“We knew what the restrictions were, yet we needed to tell her something,” he said.
Alone, it’s unlikely confiding in Dana Snay would have jeopardized the settlement. But having just graduated from Gulliver, she took to social media to crow — the European vacation was just a joke, apparently — and in doing so broadcast to current and former students of the school that Gulliver had just lost its case with its former headmaster.
So much for confidential.
Four days after inking the deal, Gulliver’s attorneys notified the former headmaster that they wouldn’t pay. When Snay won a ruling to enforce the settlement, Gulliver appealed and won.
Snay, who is now headmaster at Riviera Preparatory Academy in Coral Gables, can file a motion for rehearing and also appeal to the Florida Supreme Court.
Attempts to reach Patrick and Dana Snay Wednesday by phone and — ahem — Facebook were unsuccessful. Attorneys for the Snays and Gulliver Preparatory did not return messages left at their offices.
If your dad (or mom) wins a large legal settlement, make sure you check to see if a confidentiality agreement is in place before you go boasting about it to your friends on Facebook.
[via Miami Herald]