The Status That Cost A Family $80,000

by Seth Millstein

This has got to be the most expensive Facebook status of all time. A Florida man who won $80,000 in a wrongful termination lawsuit had that payment abruptly revoked on Wednesday after his daughter bragged about her dad’s winnings on Facebook. The man, Patrick Snay, had signed a confidentiality agreement after winning the lawsuit, and his daughter’s proclamation that the settlement would be paying for her European vacation was a flagrant violation of that agreement. Whoops.

Snay had been released from his job as a school headmaster in 2010, and subsequently sued the school, Gulliver Preparatory, for age discrimination. The two parties settled for $80,000, but only on the condition that Snay keep the terms of the settlement confidential. Apparently, he didn’t, as his daughter, now a student at Boston College, posted a Facebook update announcing that she’d be going on vacation with her dad’s settlement money.

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

Alas, it wasn’t meant to be. The fuddy-duddies over at the Third Circuit Court of Appeals felt that this violated Snay’s confidentiality agreement, and subsequently revoked the payment. The court learned of the Facebook status through the school’s lawyers, who in turn probably learned of it through one of Dana’s many Facebook friends who still attend the school.

“Snay violated the agreement by doing exactly what he had promised not to do,” Judge Linda Ann Wells wrote. “His daughter then did precisely what the confidentiality agreement was designed to prevent.”

Sad times. The Snays are appealing the verdict.