Jury Awards Photographer $1 Million After Couple Trashes Her Online Over $125

Jury Awards Photographer $1 Million After Couple Trashes Her Online Over $125

Jury Awards Photographer $1 Million After Couple Trashes Her Online Over $125

A Dallas County jury has awarded a wedding photographer more than $1 million after determining a newly-married couple unhappy with her work launched a social media campaign to post falsehoods about her.

In a 10-2 verdict, the jury found on Friday that Neely and Andrew Moldovan of Dallas knowingly published false statements about Andrea Polito that disparaged her business.

Court documents showed the couple claimed their photos were being "held hostage" and led a social media campaign to hurt the reputation of Polito and her business. The $125 dollars was for the cost of a wedding album cover, which has a variety of iterations and so comes separately, as Polito had reportedly explained to the couple when they booked her and had outlined in their contract.

Neely bashed Polito on her blog "A Complete Waste of Makeup" and also to local news outlets - even though the photographer reminded them the album could only be completed once the couple completed an order form and selected a cover shot.

This was the way it was for "several weeks", and Polito said she had planned just waive the fee, but, days later, accusations that her company was "holding their photos hostage" began swirling.

Today, Polito hopes she can restart her life and get back to the way things were before.

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"She basically didn't read her paperwork or contract", Polito told the Washington Post.

Numerous negative reviews that hit online sites like Yelp towards her business have been removed for violating terms of the site, believed to be fraudulent reviews created to defame Polito. She said that she had given them a contract that stated her terms of delivery.

It's safe to say that it is Moldovan's reputation that is now the one at risk. She said that she typically booked nearly 100 weddings a year but after their angry campaign she only booked two weddings in 2015. Polito told the Dallas Morning News that "almost over night" the couple ruined the company she spent 13 years building. "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 didn't immediately return messages seeking comment.

Attorney Dave Wishnew, who represented Polito, told CBS Dallas/Fort Worth it took the jury a few hours to find the couple liable for defamation, disparagement and civil conspiracy.

"I was completely humiliated", Polito said. They must now pay Polito $1.08 million in damages. "What's been hard the past couple of years has been feeling so ashamed of this story".

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