Mediation: Violation of Confidentiality Provision
So the settlement agreement has a confidentiality provision. Nobody really pays attention to that right? Think again. In the case of Gulliver Schools v. Snay, 137 So.3d 1045 (Fla. 3DCA 2014), the Third District Court of Appeal held that the former headmaster who sued the school and reached a settlement could not recover the remaining $80,000.00 due under the settlement agreement because he violated the confidentiality provision. The confidentiality provision read as follows:
- Confidentiality … [T]he plaintiff shall not either directly or indirectly,
disclose, discuss or communicate to any entity or person, except his
attorneys or other professional advisors or spouse any information
whatsoever regarding the existence or terms of this Agreement …
A breach … will result in disgorgement of the Plaintiffs portion of the
Mr. Snay and his wife told their daughter simply that the case had settled and that they were happy with the results. Unfortunately, the daughter posted the following message on her Facebook account:
Mama and Papa Snay won the case against Gulliver.
Gulliver is now officially paying for my vacation to Europe
this summer. SUCK IT.
The Gulliver case is a very good lesson and should serve as a reminder to attorneys to instruct their clients that confidentiality means confidentiality. A tough lesson learned by the daughter who likely missed out on that European vacation.
Rod B. Neuman is a Florida Supreme Court Certified Circuit Court Mediator Certified Mediator (also admitted in the United States District Court, Middle District of Florida) and offers these observations based upon his experiences mediating cases throughout the State of Florida.