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How To Lose Your Settlement in One Facebook Post

How To Lose Your Settlement in One Facebook Post

Settlement agreements commonly include confidentiality clauses; the parties agree not to disclose the terms of the settlement to anyone not involved in the negotiations or to anyone at all. It doesn’t seem too difficult but, it often translates to keeping the terms a secret from your significant other, children, parents, and other family members. I can imagine it would be quite a challenge to remain silent when your lawsuit, which are so often both stressful and time consuming, comes to an end- the feelings of defeat or victory would be hard to hide.

This case, however, may provide some encouragement and motivation. Florida resident, Patrick Snay, recently settled a discrimination suit against his former employer. The terms of his settlement included a confidentiality agreement preventing both Mr. Snay and his wife (also involved in the suit) from disclosing the terms to anyone other than their attorneys and professional advisors. The settlement awarded Mr. Snay back pay, attorney’s fees, and an $80,000 settlement. Shortly there after, Mr. And Mrs. Snay made a decision to tell their teenage daughter about the terms of the settlement, a decision they would soon regret. As their daughter’s next Facebook post stated “Mama and Papa Snay won the case against Gulliver. Gulliver is now officially paying for my vacation to Europe this summer. SUCK IT.” News of her post traveled quickly to the opposing party and before long, all were back in court.

Mr. Snay lost at the appeals level where the Third District Court of Appeal for the State of Florida found “Snay violated the agreement by doing exactly what he had promised not to do. His daughter then did precisely what the confidentiality agreement was designed to prevent, advertising to the Gulliver community that Snay had been successful in his age discrimination and retaliation case against the school.” Accordingly, the court reversed the motion to enforce the agreement and the Snay family was left with one very expensive Facebook post.


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