Talk about oversharing too much information: a daughter’s Facebook boast about the settlement of an age discrimination lawsuit has cost her father $80,000. When Patrick Snay, 69, was let go as the headmaster of Gulliver Preparatory School in Miami, he filed an age discrimination and retaliation lawsuit, which was settled for $80,000 in November 2011. The settlement agreement contained a standard confidentiality clause preventing either party from talking about the terms.
Unfortunately, Snay told his teenage daughter Dana about the agreement, which included $10,000 in back pay, $60,000 for attorney’s fees, and the $80,000 settlement. Snay told the Miami Herald that he felt obligated to explain it to his daughter because she suffered from “psychological scars” from peers at the school. Dana, in turn, bragged about the settlement on Facebook to her 1,200 friends, many of whom attended Gulliver. According to court documents, the post read: “Mama and Papa Snay won the case against Gulliver. Gulliver is now officially paying for my vacation to Europe this summer. SUCK IT.” The post reached the school’s lawyers at the speed of social media, and on November 7, 2011, four days after reaching the deal, the attorneys told Snay they wouldn’t pay him. Snay filed a motion to enforce the settlement on June 9, 2012, which he won, but the school won an appeal on February 26, 2014.
Snay says he never told Dana that he’d “won” the case, and that she didn’t go to Europe that summer. “This, however, does not change our analysis,” wrote State of Florida Third District Court of Appeal Judge Linda Ann Wells in the order granting the appeal. Judge Wells added, “Rather, before the ink was dry on the agreement, and notwithstanding the clear language of section 13 mandating confidentiality, Snay violated the agreement by doing exactly what he had promised not to do.”
The case is Gulliver Schools, Inc., a Florida corporation, and School Management Systems, Inc., a Florida corporation, appellants, vs. Patrick Snay, appellee, No. 3D13-1952, Lower Tribunal No. 10-62368. Scott A. Cole and Kristen A. Tajak of Cole, Scott & Kissane were attorneys for the appellants. Jonathan M. Streisfield, David L. Ferguson and Scott J. Weiselberg, of Kopelowitz Ostrow Ferguson Weiselberg Keechl were attorneys for Snay, the appellee.