Monday, March 3, 2014

Breach of Confidentiality on Facebook Voids Deal

News of Facebook and the court system has been limited to juror misconduct and claimants deleting profiles. However, Florida's Third District Court of Appeal recently threw out an $80,000 age discrimination settlement between a Dade prep school and its former headmaster due to a social media status post. Apparently, the ex-employee through his daughter breached the terms of a confidential settlement agreement when she bragged about the money paying for her summer vacation on Facebook to her 1,200 "friends." The post, seen by current and former students, made its way back to the school’s attorneys, who claimed Plaintiff violated the clear and unambiguous language of the parties’ mediation deal. Plaintiff initially won a Circuit Court ruling to enforce the deal, but an appellate panel overturned that decision last week. Central to the settlement agreement was a detailed confidentiality provision, which provided that the existence and terms were to be kept strictly confidential and that should Plaintiff breach the confidentiality provision, a portion of the settlement proceeds would be disgorged. Plaintiff told his daughter that he was happy with the results, claiming he had to say something because she had suffered during her enrollment at the school and was aware of the mediation. The reviewing court said the Plaintiff's daughter did precisely what the confidentiality agreement was designed to prevent. See article here-- and court decision here--