There is an interesting torts case out of Dallas where a couple was sued by a photographer after they trashed the photographer in the media for withholding their wedding album over $125 that the studio insisted had to be paid. The story was immediately gobbled up by the media and the studio lost business and eventually closed. Now, instead of $125, Andrew and Neely Moldovan will have to pay one million dollars in defamation damages.
Neely Moldovan is a “full time beauty blogger’ and shredded photographer Andrew Polito over the disagreement. However, as this Washington Post story discusses, the story was far different from the one carried on local media of a heartless studio abusing a recently wedded couple.
The studio had asked for the couple to fill out a form and select pictures for the album. Final pictures are not turned over until the album is completed and paid for. The $125 fee is clearly laid out in the contract as is the standard rule that the pictures are not released until payment for the album is made. Many couples tend to run out on photographers once they have the pictures.
After three months, the couple did a full press blitz and they told NBC affiliate KXAS in January 2015 that the studio was demanding an extra $150 on top of the thousands that they had already paid. Angry supporters descended on the studio and the Daily Mail declared “Wedding photographer holds couple’s pictures hostage.”
The jury saw it far differently. Indeed, they saw a case of defamation.
The couple may now appeal.