When victims are in the midst of an injury lawsuit, the wrong social media post could jeopardize their financial recovery. It is common for confidentiality clauses to be included in the terms of a lawsuit settlement agreement. These clauses prohibit all parties in a case from talking about the details publicly. An errant post on social media could lead to hundreds of thousands of dollars in compensation lost.
Social Media Post Costs Family Over $80,000
One Florida case illustrates the need for parties in a lawsuit to abide by the confidentiality provisions of settlement agreements and to consider the legal consequences of sharing case information on social media. When Patrick Snay successfully sued Miami’s Gulliver Preparatory School for age discrimination, he won a settlement worth approximately $80,000. Snay’s daughter, however, took to social media, boasting that the school was going to pay for her upcoming vacation in Europe.
The young woman’s post was blasted to more than 1,200 of her Facebook followers, eventually getting back to the school. Gulliver claimed the post violated the confidentiality clause in the settlement agreement. The courts agreed, saying Snay violated the agreement by talking to his daughter about the case. The discrimination ruling was thrown out, costing Patrick Snay his settlement.
Social Media Always a Risk in Settlements
Oversharing on social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram is a common problem in civil lawsuits. Although lawyers in Chicago typically communicate the risks involved with using social media, especially when confidentiality provisions are included in settlement agreements, photos and posts continue to impact the outcome of cases.
Social media posts are rarely completely private. People who are involved in litigation should always assume that anyone can access the information they share. Even if the post does not come directly from the person in the lawsuit, such as in the case of the Snay family, it can be used as evidence to show how the terms of the settlement agreement were violated.
Individuals involved in lawsuits must also ensure they understand the confidentiality provisions of their settlement agreements. They should let their attorneys know if the provisions of their settlement agreements are not clear.