Note to any potential plaintiffs out there: if you win $80,000 in an age discrimination lawsuit, and you sign a confidentiality agreement, avoid bragging about your win on social media to 1,200 people, many of whom are intimately connected with the defendant.
Unfortunately for 69-year-old Patrick Snay, the Headmaster of a Miami school (Gulliver Preparatory), such a gaff just cost him a major settlement. He had sued his former school for age discrimination, after Gulliver terminated his contract in 2010. He won $80,000 in November 2011, and that should have been that.
However, there was a catch. (Isn’t there always?)
Snay apparently told his college aged daughter, Dana, about the victory and she proceeded to boast about her dad’s success — thus violating the confidentiality agreement — to her 1,200 plus friends on Facebook. The Boston College student (and part time barista) bragged: “Mama and Papa Snay won the case against Gulliver … Gulliver is now officially paying for my vacation to Europe this summer. SUCK IT.”
Snay had still been friends with many current and ex-Gulliver students. Unsurprisingly, word about her boasting ultimately got back to the lawyers who represented the school, who then used her breach of confidentiality to appeal the verdict. The Third District Court of Appeals promptly tossed the settlement. The judge in the case explained why: “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.”
Snay tried to backtrack. He said he only told his daughter because she had experienced “psychological scars” from her experience at Gulliver and that “we knew what the restrictions were, [but] we needed to tell her something.” Technically, Snay can ask for a rehearing and appeal to the Florida Supreme Court, but case watchers believe that his odds of success are slim.
What’s the moral here? The lesson is that, if/when you win a major settlement, be discrete, and abide by the critical terms and stipulations.
Of course, if you have experienced age discrimination anywhere, your first step is to actually try to win the case. Call the Joseph & Kirschenbaum team today at (212) 688-5640 for a free and confidential case evaluation.