A pair of Dallas newlyweds who refused to pay a hundred and twenty-five dollar fee has now been forced to pay over a million dollars to their wedding photographer. Via a blog, the couple slandered and abused the photographer online and as a result, the photographer was awarded a total of 1.8 million dollars in damages.
Andrea Polito is the photographer who shot the couple’s wedding pictures back in 2014.
In the lawsuit, Andrea claims that since then her business has been nearly destroyed by the couple.
Andrea said that the unjust allegations levied at her by the couple caused her successful business that took over 13 years to build to crumble overnight.
After the couple’s wedding, the Moldovans asked the photographer to send them their high-resolution photos.
But Andrea’s contract specified that the couple had to fill out and submit an order form for their wedding album. The form would list their choices for a wedding album (that would be specially made in Italy) and also include a cover photo that costs $125.
Andrea said that her studio, just like many others, withholds these images until the entire wedding shoot is completed so that they can create a custom wedding album, usually months after the wedding.
Andrea said that this is done in order to avoid fraud. She said that otherwise ‘photographers will hand over the images and the bride [will] disappear.’
When the couple expressed their discontent to Andrea over the fee, Andrea said that she was more than willing to waive the fee but the couple still chose to publicly defame her.
The court records showed that Neely Moldovan wrote to someone that day saying: ‘we are hoping that our story makes the news and completely ruins her business.’
The couple then went on social media, local news outlets, and Neely’s own personal blog, saying that the wedding photos were missing and were held hostage until the couple paid up.
The couple claimed that Andrea asked for another additional $150 when they had already paid her thousands of dollars.
They went on local media outlets and showcased empty picture frames saying that they never received their wedding photos. They claimed that the fee was not stipulated in the contract but Andrea has shown that the clause was actually in BOLD in the contract.
Sympathizers and friends of the Moldovans began attacking Andrea on review pages and calling her a scam artist.
Her reputation was tarnished and her business, which she claims used to do over a hundred photo shoots in a year, quickly died down and she was forced to close her studio.
Andrea, during the lawsuit, showed the court pictures of emails between her staff and the couple where they tried to appease their customers but meanwhile, the Moldovans were lambasting the photographer on Neely Moldovan’s new beauty blog.
On Friday, the jury formally announced that the accusations were akin to malicious defamation and charged the couple more than a million dollars in damages.
Andrea’s lawyers showed that she had lost hundreds of thousands of dollars during the time her studio was forced to shut down and that she was forced to live on her savings which are slowly but surely dwindling.
The Moldovans are expected to challenge the verdict before a judge forces them to pay up.