Here’s another one for the bulging “Kids Are Dumb” file: it seems a Florida teenager has cost her father an $80,000 legal settlement with a single, profoundly ill-advised Facebook
Patrick Snay, 69, had served as headmaster at a Miami private school called Gulliver Preparatory School until 2010, when his contract wasn’t renewed. Snay sued Gulliver
for age discrimination, and in November 2011, the school settled out of court with an agreement to pay Snay $80,000 in damages, $10,000 in back pay, and $60,000 in legal fees. As is often the case,
one of the conditions of the settlement was confidentiality, with Snay and his wife promising not to tell anyone about the existence or terms of the deal.
However Snay did tell his
daughter Dana, a former student at the school, who now boasted to her 1,200 closest friends on Facebook: “Mama and Papa Snay won the case against Gulliver. Gulliver is now officially paying for
my vacation to Europe this summer. SUCK IT.” Gulliver alumni saw the posts and alerted the school’s lawyers, who promptly informed Snay senior the deal was off. He had obviously violated
the confidentiality clause.
The school’s move was recently upheld by a Florida district court of appeal, which ruled: “Snay violated the agreement by doing exactly what he
had promised not to do. His daughter then did precisely what the confidentiality agreement was designed to prevent.” Among other things, Snay junior’s post implied that Gulliver had been
defeated in court or admitted wrongdoing -- both untrue.
This is hardly the first case of a dumb social media post leading to legal ramifications.
Last year, 18-year-old
Jacob Cox-Brown of Astoria, Oregon, was arrested after boasting about a drunk driving escapade. Cox-Brown’s exact words were: “Drivin drunk… classsic (sic) [winking smiley-face
emoticon] but whoever’s vehicle i hit i am sorry. [smiley-face emoticon].” Two people who saw the post tipped off the local police, who then inspected Cox-Brown’s vehicle and matched
damage on the car to the damage inflicted on two other vehicles. Then, they arrested him.
In a press release, the Astoria police basically begged people to stop being so damn stupid:
“When you post… on Facebook, you have to figure that it is not going to stay private long.”
Also last year, two girls in Lakeland, FL, ages 12 and 14, were arrested
and charged as juveniles with third-degree aggravated stalking following the death of another girl, 14-year-old Rebecca Sedwick, who committed suicide after being bullied. The older girl had admitted
on Facebook: “Yes, I bullied Rebecca and she killed herself but IDGAF [I don’t give a fuck].” Ultimately, the charges were dismissed.