Lessons in Social Media from the Third DCA
By Kluger Kaplan March 3, 2014
By Steve Silverman
Last week, the Third DCA’s opinion in Gulliver Schools, Inc. v. Snay served as a lesson to the Facebook generation to once again think before posting. The former Gulliver headmaster sued the school for wrongful termination and the parties reached a settlement whereby Snay was to receive $10,000 in back pay, an $80,000 lump sum payment and $60,000 to Snay’s attorney. As a condition to settlement, Gulliver required a confidentiality provision as to the terms of the settlement. But just four days after the parties inked the agreement, Gulliver notified Snay that he had breached the agreement based on his daughter’s Facebook post:
“Mama and Papa Snay won the case against Gulliver. Gulliver is now officially paying for my vacation to Europe this summer. SUCK IT.”
Gulliver notified Snay that it would pay the attorney’s fees but not Snay’s portion because he had breached the confidentiality provision. The Third agreed with Gulliver, reversing the trial court and setting a precedent that should make social media users think twice before posting. Those of us who rely on electronic discovery have been shouting from the rooftops about the dangers of social media use in litigation for many years. But the result in Snay is one of the first where a litigant has suffered greatly as a result of social media use. This should serve as a reminder to those who use social media to think before you post.