Monday, March 03, 2014

Teen's gloating Facebook post costs parents $80,000

What have we said over and over again? Don't post things on Facebook that could get you in trouble. Now, we weren't thinking about this sort of post, but still, this shows you just how hard it is for teenagers to keep their lips sealed. Teenager Dana Snay cost her parents $80,000 with a Facebook post, according to CNN's report on Monday.

Patrick Snay, 69, is the former head of Guillver Preparatory School. After his contract was not renewed, he filed an age discrimination complaint. In November of 2011, the parties came to an agreement in which Snay would be paid $10,000 in back pay, and an $80,000 settlement, with Snay's attorneys receiving their own check for $60,000.

However, part of the agreement was that neither Snay nor his wife speak about the settlement to anyone except for his attorneys and other professional advisers. Dana Snay did not fit either of those categories, and thus, when she posted on Facebook saying, "Mama and Papa Snay won the case against Gulliver. Gulliver is now officially paying for my vacation to Europe this summer. SUCK IT," one could see a possible problem.

Dana Snay had 1,200 folks following her page, many of whom were former or current Gulliver students. The school heard about the post through the Facebook grapevine, and within a few days, they sent a letter to Snay's attorneys stating that -- as Snay had broken the confidentiality agreement -- that he would not be receiving his $80,000 settlement. Snay filed a motion to enforce the settlement and won in a Circuit Court ruling. The school appealed, which is why the story is still ongoing.

In court documents, Patrick Snay said:
What happened is that after settlement, my wife and I went in the parking lot, and we had to make some decisions on what we were going to tell my daughter. Because it's very important to understand that she was an intricate part of what was happening.

She was retaliated against at Gulliver. So she knew we were going to some sort of mediation. She was very concerned about it. Because of what happened at Gulliver, she had quite a few psychological scars which forced me to put her into therapy.

So there was a period of time that there was an unresolved enclosure for my wife and me. It was very important with her. We understood the confidentiality. So we knew what the restrictions were, yet we needed to tell her something.
While parents, perhaps, could see why Snay and his wife would tell his daughter, unfortunately the idea of the confidentiality agreement was to prevent what happened from happening -- public knowledge that Snay had been successful in his age discrimination and retaliation case against the school.

The Third District Court of Appeal for the State of Florida agreed with Gulliver, saying that Snay had, in fact, violated a clearly stated confidentiality and reversed the Circuit Court ruling. The agreement, remember, said no one outside of Snay, his wife, and professional advisers would be informed of the settlement.

The court wrote:
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.

Based on the clear and unambiguous language of the parties' agreement and Snay's testimony confirming his breach of its terms, we reverse the (Circuit Court) order entered below granting the Snays' motion to enforce the agreement.
Snay is now the headmaster at Riviera Preparatory School in Coral Gables, Fla.

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