According to the Miami Herald, a Florida teenager’s Facebook posts cost her father an $80,000 settlement in an age discrimination case against his former employer, Gulliver Preparatory School.

The settlement, not surprisingly, contained a confidentiality clause requiring the “terms and existence” of the agreement to be kept private.  Not letting this get in her way, the daughter, Dana Snay, posted to her 1,200 Facebook friends, “Mama and Papa Snay won the case against Gulliver. Gulliver is now officially paying for my vacation to Europe this summer. SUCK IT.”

After the school learned of the Facebook posts, its attorneys notified Snay that the school would not pay the settlement.  Snay then sued to enforce the settlement, but the school appealed and won.  With this, I wonder whether the breach of the confidentiality provision and subsequent refusal to pay voided the entire settlement.  That is – does “Papa Snay” still have a claim against Gulliver – or did he lose the payment and any chance of asserting his claims?       

As someone who drafts settlement agreements all the time and whose clients are often extremely concerned about confidentiality – just like the preparatory school in this case – it was nice to see the court conclude that a party’s breach of confidentiality can have serious consequences.  This case also serves to underscore the need for everyone (including children) to “think before you post.”

Do you think the school made the right decision to void the settlement agreement or should they simply have let the post go?