A couple destroys the reputation of a photographer over $125… A jury awards her $1Million!
Here's to the happy couple!
Not so fast. This newlywed couple from North Texas should've kept their traps shut and/or been a little more diplomatic when expressing their grief over $125. This bad faith refusal to pay turned the (supposedly) best of their lives into a financial nightmare and a severe online backlash.
Everything began when Andrew and Neely Moldovan hired Andrea Polito to take pictures at their wedding. Polito got them to sign a regular contract, explaining the ins and outs of the whole thing, especially that the final cover was costed at $125. After the wedding, when the Moldovans refused to pay up, claiming that it wasn't in the contract, the photographer just held on to their pictures until they did.
(A "beauty blogger")
Loose lips sink ships
The main problem is that the Moldovans went on TV to shed a crocodile tear or two about this whole "scam", and went online to declare that they wanted to destroy the photographer's business. Obviously, Andrea Polito filed a complaint for defamation in March 2015. Neely Moldovan is a "beauty blogger" (which could be loosely translate by: someone who is used to living life as if it was scripted), she used her social media skills to attack Andrea's business, claming the "her business is basically done." Since the lawsuits, the couple has denied wanted to destroy anything, but nobody turns up in front of NBC's cameras without a sob story and game plan. All for a measly $125.
Juries don't appreciate defamation
This Friday, a jury deliberated and found the couple guilty of defaming Andrea Polito, confirming the suspicions that they were actually trying to destroy her business, and that the pricing in the contract definitely specified the $125 cover charge. They'll have to hand over damages in the amount of $1.08 million. Ouch, that's got to hurt. Andrea will be able to rebuild her business, and get her reputation back. This verdict will help, but we're not too worried for her future. Just avoid joking around with her about contracts and payments. Not just yet.
This story certainly proves that freedom of speech doesn't guarantee freedom from consequences.