(CN) – A Florida man whose daughter bragged on Facebook about a confidential settlement is no longer entitled to that settlement, a state appeals court ruled.
When Gulliver Schools Inc. did not renew Patrick Snay’s contract as headmaster, he sued for age discrimination and retaliation.
The parties came to a settlement of $90,000, plus $60,000 to Snay’s attorneys. One of the terms of the agreement was that Snay and his wife had to keep the settlement confidential, or they would lose $80,000 of the settlement.
Four days after the settlement, Gulliver informed Snay that he had violated the settlement, citing a Facebook post by Snay’s college-age daughter.
Borrowing the trademark taunt of pro-wrestling faction D-Generation X, the daughter had posted: “Mama and Papa Snay won the case against Gulliver. Gulliver is now officially paying for my vacation to Europe this summer. SUCK IT.”
Gulliver paid the attorneys’ fees portion, but not the main portion due to Snay.
Snay moved to enforce the settlement, arguing that his daughter’s comment did not breach the agreement.
The Miami-Dade County Circuit Court agreed with the Snays, but the Third District Court of Appeal reversed last week, noting that the settlement prohibited the Snays from “either directly or indirectly” disclosing information about the agreement.
Snay’s testimony that he told his daughter “that it was settled and we were happy with the results” breached the agreement, Judge Linda Ann Wells wrote for a three-judge panel.
“The fact that Snay testified that he knew he needed to tell his daughter something did not excuse this breach,” the judge added.
If Snay deemed it necessary to inform his daughter, he could have worked with the school’s lawyers to include a “mutually acceptable course of action” in that vein, the court found.
“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,” Wells wrote. “His daughter then did exactly what the confidentiality agreement was designed to prevent.”
The court was unmoved by the fact that Snay’s daughter did not go to Europe that summer and had not planned such a trip.
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