Social Media Blog

Social Media and Confidentiality Clauses - How a Daughter’s Post Cost Her Family $80,000

Posted by on 24 Apr 2014

Many of our prior blogs and articles have been about the importance of checking your posts or tweets before sending them out into the world wide web and the litigious impact of those messages. But what about the impact of posts or tweets at the conclusion of litigation or a settlement particularly when you are bound by a confidentiality clause?

Florida teen, Dana Snay, learnt the hard way that the impact of her post would cost her father his $80,000 settlement with his former employer.

In 2011, Mr Snay reached a settlement with Gulliver Preparatory School, whereby they would pay Mr Snay $80,000 in damages, subject to a confidentiality clause.

But before the payment was made, Dana took to Facebook and boasted: "Mama and Papa Snay won the case against Gulliver. Gulliver is now officially paying for my vacation to Europe this summer. SUCK IT."

Dana had 1,200 friends including many former and current students of the school and, by the all encompassing power of social media, the message reached school officials and their lawyers within the blink of an eye. Sure enough, the school sued.

In February 2014, the Third District Court of Appeal in Florida held that Mr Snay breached the agreement and he was denied the settlement money.

Despite the fact that this is an American case, it is worth mentioning because it applies here in Australia. Most settlements include standard confidentiality clauses along the lines that the details of the settlement are confidential and are not to be disclosed to anyone.

Of course, each matter is different and it depends on the wording of the clause, but in an age where our thoughts can be broadcast instantaneously to an indefinite number of people, it goes without saying, don’t discuss settlement details on social media – it’s just not worth it!

If you need advice about a confidentiality clause or about the potential implications of posts via social media please contact our Digital Media & Technology team in Parramatta and Norwest.