Photographer wins $1 million defamation lawsuit against unhappy couple

Oscar Cross
August 3, 2017

The Moldovans alleged in a coordinated social and news media campaign that Polito's firm was holding their wedding photographs "hostage" by demanding what they claim was a surprise fee of $125 for an album cover, according to the suit.

Meanwhile, the trouble between Polito and the Moldovans began in January 2015 when the newlyweds, Andrew and Neely, accused the photographer of holding their wedding photos "for ransom".

According to the news station, Polito maintains that the cover fee was clearly stated in the order form; however, the Moldovans claim they didn't receive the order form until after the wedding (the station also published a copy of the lawsuit). Andrea Polito sued the couple as her business was completely ruined after they launched an extensive shaming campaign against her via social media. She even offered to waive the cost of the cover photo when she realized the couple's discontent with not having the photos. According to the lawsuit, the couple bragged online that they were "pretty sure her business is done".

Polito's attorney, Dave Wishnew, explained that "freedom of speech is not freedom from consequence" and that online attacks have "real world consequences".

"I was paying cash everywhere because I didn't want people to see my name on my credit card", said Polito. I've shot several of the Dallas elites.

"It affects lives", said Polito.

The jury sided with Polito in the case, finding the Moldovans liable for defamation, disparagement and civil conspiracy.


"We are stunned. We did what consumer advocates say to do: When you are wronged, you fight back", the statement reads. In a typical year, she would book between 75 and 100 weddings.

The couple has an option to appeal, and Polito told Dallas News that she was looking forward to moving on and rebuilding her brand. "But those protections don't extend to a concerted campaign created to defame and destroy someone's hard-earned business", he said.

"People knew me and my reputation".

After the verdict, the photographer said: "I'm emotionally exhausted".

"Proud to say that after a week long, hard fought trial, the jury returned a verdict of over $1 Million, including punitives, for Andrea Polito, who was defamed by two awful, shameful people", Polito's attorney, Dave Wishnew, writes.

While $1 million is nice, the photographer called it just "a number" and told CBS News the more important significance of the verdict is that "it means to me that I get my name back".

A phone message left for the Moldovans' attorneys was not immediately returned Tuesday.

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