From the “Think Before You Post” File
A daughter violated the confidentiality clause in her father’s Settlement Agreement with a braggadocio posting on Facebook. Inevitably, the young lady’s post eventually drew the attention of the defense counsel in the employment discrimination case.
“Mama and Papa … won the case against Gulliver,” she wrote referencing the the employer. “Gulliver is now officially paying for my vacation to Europe this summer. SUCK IT.”
The trial court did not find the post a breach of the agreement. However, on appeal to Florida’s Third Circuit Court of Appeal, the appellate court reversed the trial court stating, “[B]efore the ink was dry on the agreement, and notwithstanding the clear language … mandating confidentiality, [he] violated the agreement by doing exactly what he had promised not to do.” Apparently, the daughter had 1200 friends on the site so there was no claiming it was a private message or not intended for public consumption.
After finding the terms of the agreement clear and unambiguous, the Court held:
In this case, the plain, unambiguous meaning of … the agreement between [the father] and the school is that neither [he] nor his wife would “either directly or indirectly” disclose to anyone (other than their lawyers or other professionals) “any information” regarding the existence or the terms of the parties’ agreement.
They disclosed it to their daughter and she disclosed to at least 1200 other people on-line with the Facebook post. This is a real expensive way to learn the internet is a public forum. It also is an expensive way to find out how easily a confidentiality agreement is breached.
Read the appellate decision here and more info from the news story is below.