March 23, 2018

Jury Awards Photographer $1 Million Verdict After Couple Spread Lies About Her

03 August 2017, 01:08 | Clyde Nash

A Texas couple's fight with a wedding photographer over $125 has caused one million more problems

Couple who accused wedding photographer of holding their photos hostage in feud over $125 fee must now pay her ...

Photographer Andrea Polito, from Dallas, Texas, was awarded $1.8M Dollars (€1.5M) in the lawsuit which determined that one of the couples who hired her to capture their wedding photos had "pursued an extensive social media campaign" against her that a jury found to be "false and malicious" in nature.

On Friday, more than two years after the story ran, a Dallas County jury found the couple's social media posts were done out of malice and that Polito followed the terms of her contract with the newlyweds. Polito was hired by Andrew and Neely Moldovan to photograph their October 2014 wedding and the festivities leading up to it.

Polito said when she became aware the couple was agitated at not having received the photos, she offered to waive the cost of the album's cover photo.

When Andrew and Neely Moldovan first spoke to KXAS about the incident in 2015, they claimed the issue revolved around a surprise $125 fee for an album cover. The couple was suppose to select a cover photo and submit an order form, which they had not done. He also revealed that the couple is not interested in speaking with the media.

In an open letter that was posted on Andrea Polito Photography website, Polito explained that she and her group tried to straighten things and make them right when the disagreement with the Moldovans arose.

Polito knew nothing about this, she said, until her studio manager texted her a screenshot of Neely Moldovan's latest Instagram post: "No big deal NBC in our apt". "They took that away from me".

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A phone message left for the Moldovans' attorneys was not immediately returned Tuesday. In a typical year, she would book between 75 and 100 weddings. "As a small business owner you have two choices - you can either give in every time a client threatens you or you can fight back and that's what I did".

The Moldovans also made "disparaging and defamatory" statements on social media and blogs, including Wedding Wire, about Polito and her company, saying she "cheated" and "scammed" people, the suit states.

Neely Moldovan, who maintains a lifestyle and beauty blog, said in one Facebook conversation that she was "pretty sure [Polito's] business is done".

"I felt completely dead", said Polito. The couple is ordered to pay Polito $1.08 million in damages.

While $1 million is nice, the photographer called it just "a number" and told CBS News the more important significance of the verdict is that "it means to me that I get my name back".

The NBC5 story and interview with the couple aired January 2015, at the start of Polito's primary booking season.

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