Parents lose settlement due to daughter's Facebook. Legal?

Basically, the guy won an age-discrimination lawsuit and were awarded an $80,000 lawsuit. Their teenager daughter then posted this on her public Facebook:

“Mama and Papa Snay won the case against Gulliver. Gulliver is now officially paying for my vacation to Europe this summer. SUCK IT.”

Now, the school says they broke the confidentiality agreement and therefore does not have to pay the $80,000 settlement.

Granted, the teenager is a brat and didn’t think too hard before posting.

But is it really fair or legal to reverse a settlement over something your impulsive daughter did? Most of the articles I’ve seen online lambast the Facebooking daughter, but don’t go into the legality of whether a teenage daughter’s posting should erase a settlement. I have to imagine the parents had no idea she posted that at the time.

From your linked article.

So it seems telling the daughter was right out.

He didn’t win a lawsuit; he settled out of court. The settlement was conditional on him not telling anyone other than his wife. He violated the agreement by telling his daughter; ergo he looses the 80K.

Relevant text.

He was allowed to tell his wife, but his kid wasn’t named. If he hadn’t, she wouldn’t be able to blab about anything.

As mentioned, he did NOT win a lawsuit: there was a negotiated settlement. Which was contingent on it not becoming public.

Snay may still be able to continue to fight with the actual lawsuit, if there are no term problems with that.

I wonder if the girl’s facebook page got flooded with hundreds of “Well, suck THAT, princess” posts. Sorry Dad, but if you felt she deserved to know, then you should have told her she was NOT to say anything to anyone by any means.

I’ve settled a large lawsuit with a confidentiality clause. You don’t even tell your mother if she’s going to gossip.

He didn’t need to tell his daughter the amount. Really sucks to be him and his daughter right now, but them’s the breaks.

I don’t see anything that states he told her the amount, or that she told everyone on FB the amount.
It could be a case of parents were going to Europe & the settlement covered part of the plane ticket so they kicked in the rest (so the settlement could theoretically be only a few hundred dollars). There’s no cost for her hotel as she can stay in the room they’re already paying for.

FTR, I don’t believe the above scenario myself, but it could have happened that way.

I’ve got no opinion one way or the other, but I’m wondering about something. What if the parents hadn’t actually told the daughter anything and she had posted the same thing based merely on shit-stirring teenaged intuition?

I could totally see a kid inferring from the happy look on her parents face that they “won” the lawsuit.

If the parents told the judge that they hadn’t said a single word about it, what then?

According to the article, it seems the purpose of the hearing was to determine just that- did she have knowledge of the settlement from her parents, and that’s why it was determined they had broken the arrangement.

I guess if it was determined she hadn’t found out from her parents there’d be no problem.

I bet they’re wishing now that they hadn’t been so honest. Too bad they didn’t have me to tell them what to say to the judge. :slight_smile:

I don’t envy the daughter. The ride home after the hearing must have sucked.

Would it make a difference if it was the spouse who told the kid?

Unlikely. The settlement terms usually contain language against pursuing any further legal action related to the matter.

The article I read concluded with a speculative comment about that vacation to Europe this summer. Their guess: Ain’t happening.

(Missed edit window.)

ETA: Here it is.
Article on Yahoo Shine. See the final sentence.

According to a different article I saw, there was never actually any European vacation in the works; that remark about them paying for it was just a joke to begin with. Dayum.

And several articles suggest that Snay can still appeal, but give him little chance of regaining the judgment.

Lawyers every wear better be bookmarking that page and printing it out for their clients to read before settling.

It does suck not being able to talk about something - being stiffed for $80k sucks more (usually).

Seems like the court had little choice. Unless we just want to get rid of confidentiality agreements in the future.

And as someone else said - there is no dispute how she found out - the dad admits it was him and said she deserved to know due to her issues with that school. She wasn’t listed - so it wasn’t legal (and certainly her blabbing to anyone wasn’t).

But in general - if you find out from other means - you aren’t bound. Some of the NDAs I’ve signed specifically mention this - some do not.

Grandma: “Ron, you’ve always been my favorite grandson. I’m going to give you a check for $80,000 to pay for your college. But before you cash it, I have one condition. You cannot tell ANYONE about this, including your parents. I don’t want there to be hard feelings.”

Ron: “Understood, Grandma.”

Ron immediately texts his buddy, Joe. “Granny just wrote me a check for $80k. Woo hoo!”

Joe rips off a tweet: “Ron & I are headed to Vegas, thx to Ron’s G’ma. #80kROX#”

Ron’s brother Steve, a mutual friend of Joe’s, reads the tweet. “WTF?”

Steve: “Grandma, did I hear right? Did you just give Ron $80,000?”

Grandma: “No, I didn’t.” After she hangs up, she immediately calls her bank and cancels the check.

Now, in this scenario, do you really think that it’s unjust or illegal for Grandma to cancel the check she wrote to Ron?

It’s not what the impulsive daughter did. It’s what the father did, breaching the explicit terms of the settlement which he had agreed to.

While I’m not generally a fan of confidentiality clauses (because they are often used to hide wrongdoing and may even prevent unsafe practices from coming to light), it seems to me that the ONLY purpose of the school negotiating one in this case is to avoid appearing in the news for having unfairly treated Snay.

The slip up by the Snays has now resulted in a nationwide media frenzy putting exactly that information into the news cycle. While I find it funny that the confidentiality clause backfired on the institution, it seems like a clear case of the violation of the agreement causing the specific harm the institution paid the money to avoid.

If the Dad hadn’t admitted telling the daughter, would the following scenario still have cost him the settlement?
Daughter: Dad, how did the meeting with the lawyers go? Did we win?
Dad: Honey, I’m really sorry but I can’t discuss that with you. I know it’s been a stressful time, and that’s why your mother and I think the family could use a vacation. We were thinking of going to Europe this summer, and wondered if you had any input on places you’d like to see while we’re there.
<Daughter reads between the lines and makes exactly the same Facebook post>

Honestly, I don’t see how it could realistically be kept from the daughter. Sooner or later she was going to notice there was no further legal action taking place, and probably that there was a difference in their household financial situation. If the father was forbidden to speak to her about it, could he even tell her not to talk about what she’d observed?

I do feel bad for the dad, I know I could never have kept such a secret from my teenager still living in my home.