A picture may say a thousand words, but these wedding photos are now worth over $1 million dollars. That’s what a Dallas, TX jury decided on Friday, anyways. According to The Washington Post, beauty blogger Neely Moldovan and her husband Andrew must pay their wedding photographer more than $1 million (£750,000) in damages for malicious defamation.
After they were married in October 2014, the Moldovans put their wedding photographer Andrea Polito on blast. In January 2015, they told Texas NBC affiliate KXAS that after Polito snapped pictures of their big day, the photographer refused to release the photos to the couple. According to the Moldovans, Polito’s office required a $125 (£94) fee for the cover of their wedding album. The Moldovans refused to pay, telling KXAS they already spent “thousands” on the photographs.
After they went to the press, the couple’s story picked up some steam. The Daily Mail wrote about it, saying Polito held the wedding photos “hostage.” That bad press harmed Polito’s business and reputation. She sued the Moldovans after she was forced to close her photography studio. Polito told the Post that she drained her savings trying to recover from the damage the Moldovans caused to her business.
In the lawsuit, Polito said that all the couple had to do was fill out a form and pay the fee, which they already knew about, to the studio. Even after Polito’s office offered to waive the fee, the Moldovans continued to bash the photographer on social media. “She basically didn’t read her paperwork or contract,” Polito told the Post. “She just couldn’t understand why she couldn’t have her high-res images. It’s in bold in our contract.”
The jury agreed with Polito’s account of events, awarding her $1.08 million for malicious defamation. Polito told the Dallas Morning News she hopes the verdict will help rebuild her reputation and self-confidence. “I feel my reputation was restored to myself,” she told the Morning News. “What’s been so hard the past couple of years has been feeling so ashamed of this story.”