Photographer Accused Of Charging For Album Cover Now Goes To Defamation Trial With The Client

Apr 12, 2015

Udi Tirosh

Udi Tirosh is an entrepreneur, photography inventor, journalist, educator, and writer based in Israel. With over 25 years of experience in the photo-video industry, Udi has built and sold several photography-related brands. Udi has a double degree in mass media communications and computer science.

Apr 12, 2015

Udi Tirosh

Udi Tirosh is an entrepreneur, photography inventor, journalist, educator, and writer based in Israel. With over 25 years of experience in the photo-video industry, Udi has built and sold several photography-related brands. Udi has a double degree in mass media communications and computer science.

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UPDATE: this story is now under trial, you can read the latest update here.

Remember that couple – the Moldovans – who said that their photographer – Andrea Polito – made them pay extra for an album cover? The photographer since came forward with her version of the story showing evidence that she suggested the couple a free cover (and actually went above and beyond for the couple). Many news outlets, though, did not follow up on the story to vindicate Polito. And sadly, even if they did, telling a story about a photographer that is doing good is not as exciting as a photographer who is mistreating their clients and the follow up did not get as much attention.

Obviously Polito’s business took a major hit during those event and now she is seeking justice with the Moldovans. In a filing made to Dallas county Polito is asking for a jury trial for a sum between $200,000 and $1,000,000.

The case spans over a dozen pages and state the reason for the lawsuit:

This is a case about APP’s [Andrea Polito Photography – UT] clients, the Moldovans, who sought local media to publish a story based on defamatory and disparaging statements about Polito and APP to exact unjustified revenge for their personal benefit; who republished the story on various social media and electronic forums, including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, emails, and text messages to harm Polito and APP; and who directed business away from Polito and APP. To further destroy Polito and APP’s reputation and business, the Moldovans engaged in a smear campaign taken worldwide on many websites and different forms of media. The Moldovans took pride and pleasure in the harm they caused, bragging they were “pretty sure her business is done.” The Moldovans’ tortious actions have damaged Polito’s personal and professional reputation, caused her extreme emotional distress, and already caused, and will continue to cause, substantial economic damages to APP.”

Polito and attorneys also say that the Moldovans were not pure at intents. Not at all:

As a consequence of Defendants’ wrongful acts described above, Plaintiffs have suffered actual and consequential damages. Plaintiffs seek general and special damages, including damages associated with mental anguish, injury to feelings, and injury to character and reputation. Prior to the Defendants’ remarks, Polito (and APP) enjoyed an excellent professional reputation, receiving favorable reviews from clients and others. 55. Plaintiffs request and are entitled to costs of Court, and pre- and post-judgment interest at the maximum rate agreed to by the parties or permitted by law, pursuant to Texas law. 56. Moreover, Plaintiffs plead exemplary damages on all causes of action. Defendants committed the aforementioned acts with the kind of willfulness, wantonness, and/or malicious intent for which the law allows the imposition of exemplary damages

And so they are asking to be compensated:

All conditions precedent to the filing of this action have been performed, have occurred or have been waived. Pursuant to Rule 47 of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, Plaintiffs state they seek monetary relief over $200,000 but not more than $1,000,000. X. JURY REQUEST 58. Pursuant to Rule 216 of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, Plaintiffs request a trial by jury and will tender the appropriate fee

If you recall, the original case was about a $150 cover. Now it is a $1,000,000 lawsuit. I would imagine that both parties are not happy about how this escalated.

You can read the entire filing by going to http://courts.dallascounty.org/ (curently down) and lookin for case  # DC-15-03069 [lead image by lisa rigby]

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Udi Tirosh

Udi Tirosh

Udi Tirosh is an entrepreneur, photography inventor, journalist, educator, and writer based in Israel. With over 25 years of experience in the photo-video industry, Udi has built and sold several photography-related brands. Udi has a double degree in mass media communications and computer science.

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29 responses to “Photographer Accused Of Charging For Album Cover Now Goes To Defamation Trial With The Client”

  1. Beleslin Milivoj Avatar
    Beleslin Milivoj

    Curious what will come out of this mess.

  2. Daniel Shortt Avatar
    Daniel Shortt

    I hope the photographer gets it too! After reading her post about the situation and the egregious way the couple of entitled twats went about destroying her business I hope they get their accounts emptied.

  3. Matthew Montgomery Avatar
    Matthew Montgomery

    Want the upgrade? Pay for it.

    You can’t buy a base model car, then launch a smear campaign against the dealership because you didn’t get the following year’s top line upgrades for free.

  4. Robert Edward Scrivener Avatar
    Robert Edward Scrivener

    My dad always used to say “Turnabout’s fair play.”

  5. catlett Avatar
    catlett

    It is just shameful how media is always geared up to smear someone but doesn’t do the full discovery that should be done. From everything I have read I hope the photographer is made whole. It is just a shame that somehow the media that did the smearing won’t pay a penny for the part they played in all of this.

    I can just imagine this couple gleefully smearing the photographer just because they didn’t like the terms that both parties apparently agreed to before the event. The bride probably didn’t even care about any of this outside of what the anticipated gain for her blog traffic.

    1. mr.four Avatar
      mr.four

      The press will just say they were sharing a story… which is BS. They provided only partial information and with the amount of people seeing the broadcast/online postings, they were part of the damage.

  6. Chris Hutcheson Avatar
    Chris Hutcheson

    I’ll be interested to see how this turns out. Certainly the bride and groom are way out of line, and I hope they pay a price for that. Equally I think Ms. Polito has suffered here, and deserves to be compensated for that. It’s a pretty meaty story now too – hopefully one the press will pick up, particularly if she wins her case. I also hope she’s able to salvage her business.

    1. mr.four Avatar
      mr.four

      You mean the press would apologize and provide the WHOLE story? Quality journalism? Nah. They helped crush a local small business by providing only half the story… Why would they admit to that?

    2. Kate Avatar
      Kate

      Hopefully she can rebrand her business if that’s possible but the media only knows how to destroy people. They won’t shine a light on anybody.

  7. Kimberly Avatar
    Kimberly

    It’s really horrible what this couple did to her. Even if they thought they were owed a cover and didn’t understand when they were told they could have one for free, was it really worth trying to ruin someone’s life and business over? Write an honest Yelp review about your experience and move on! They seem like such awful people. How could they even enjoy their wedding pictures after this?

  8. Jodie Holstein Otte Avatar
    Jodie Holstein Otte

    go ANDREA!!!!!! Please know you have a LOT of photographers behind you that would love to see justice served for a change!

  9. Stacy, L'amour de Paris Avatar
    Stacy, L’amour de Paris

    WAY TO GO ANDREA!!! There is so much more to this story than what was included in the press. Andrea is such a class act and a professional, she did everything that any good businessperson would do to make them happy and all they wanted was to ruin her and make themselves famous. I hope justice is served and the Moldovans get the karma they deserve.

  10. Brent Busch Avatar
    Brent Busch

    I hope she wins big, those people were idiots. The way they behaved after with fake reviews, fake profiles etc killed all of their credibility.

  11. Alecio J Evangelista Avatar
    Alecio J Evangelista

    ha, it is not like everyone has 200.000 and 1.000.000 available everyday, I want to see the couple paying any amount to Andrea.

  12. Mena Photo Avatar
    Mena Photo

    I think the family who is suing over the album cover has tarnished her reputation and maliciously intended to put her out of business. The family also didn’t realize they probably have an insurance policy (or savings/assets even for their kids) that are valued between the amounts she suing back for. The likelihood of her winning is high and the likelihood that the family initially suing dropping the suit is very low because they’d get stuck with a huge lawyer bill. This will go to trial, last a few years and the family will make an offer to the photographer. I say the photographer holds her guns and wins on the policy. Sometimes we don’t get business because we are too “expensive” imagine her getting clients after this?! They killed her business INTENTIONALLY. Just because you can say whatever you want doesn’t mean there aren’t consequences. I hope she gets her 1,000,000 and walks away unharmed.

  13. Jstorm83 Avatar
    Jstorm83

    This whole story is crazy! I still can’t believe this couple and now this lawsuit. I guess well take a chance of having something like this happen to us. So scary!

  14. Cher Monroe Avatar
    Cher Monroe

    People are always trying to get the best for nothing and when that doesn’t work they lie and cheat.

  15. Photo Stealers Avatar
    Photo Stealers

    Good luck Andrea!

  16. tryoder Avatar
    tryoder

    Are you sure that we’re not talking about a nighttime soap opera? ..

  17. Jess Cadena Avatar
    Jess Cadena

    HOT DAMN! Rock on, Andrea! Another supporter standing behind you with love & prayers! I look forward to hearing the outcome of all of this.

  18. Uncle Bob Avatar
    Uncle Bob

    Did the couple ever get their album and high-res pictures or is she holding them hostage?

  19. debi-d Avatar
    debi-d

    she should be wrapping the news agencies that reported this up in the law suit. Its the only way this type of one sided reporting will stop

  20. rn2614 Avatar
    rn2614

    it’s a lose-lose. Even if they win the case what newlywed couple has a million dollars sitting around to give away? And will the photographer feel justified if or when she bankrupts the newlywed couple? it just all around sucks.

    1. Steve Thomas Avatar
      Steve Thomas

      The “win” for the photographer isn’t the $1M settlement, which I agree will probably never be paid. Her “win” comes when the media reports on the huge settlement awarded because of false accusations, in effect, exonerating her of the false accusations made by the bridezilla and hopefully the free positive advertising for her studio.

  21. guest Avatar
    guest

    I was in a similar situation where client lied about my studio on several review sites, including Yelp. Sucks. Luckily mine didn’t use the local news stations to spread the lies. If he had, I’d have gone after every media outlet that perpetuated the lies. Local TV is the main culprit here. Sloppy journalism needs to pay.

  22. Christy Stich Avatar
    Christy Stich

    You are still in my prayers, Andrea and I back you 100 %!!

  23. photopro Avatar
    photopro

    the media should be sued for taking the story! disgusting!

  24. Preston Survata Avatar
    Preston Survata

    UPDATE: The Moldovans tried to appeal moving forward, and the court has ruled for Andrea Polito and APP.

    Not only that, throughout the ruling, they explicitly state where Neely Moldovan and Andrew Moldovan wilfully and negligently published defamatory statements.

    Ruling in full is here: http://www.search.txcourts.gov/SearchMedia.aspx?MediaVersionID=ff186a1f-88d7-462b-979b-73d686377dc0&coa=coa05&DT=Opinion&MediaID=b35165c2-3ac1-4dd2-8a70-9047107bef90